UN General Assembly condemns Assad's regime as death toll tops 80,000

Syrian troops take control of the village of Western Dumayna, some seven kilometers north of the rebel-held city of Qusayr, on May 13, 2013. The United Nations put the latest death toll in Syria at 80,000 as the UN General Assembly debated a new resolution.

The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution condemning Assad's regime Wednesday, as the death toll in the war-torn nation hit at least 80,000. 

"At least 80,000 have perished since the start of the hostilities, with most of those casualties believed to be civilians," Vuk Jeremic, president of the General Assembly, told the 193 GA members ahead of the vote. 

The resolution was approved by 107 members; 12 opposed it, and 59 member states abstained, Al Jazeera reported

The draft resolution — which, like all GA resolutions, is non-binding — condemns violence from all sides and demands that a UN investigation into chemical weapons allegations be allowed to go forward, Foreign Policy reported

The Qatar-drafted resolution specifically denounces the Syrian government's increased use of heavy weapons on civilian areas, calling their actions "systematic violations of human rights." 

The draft also supports the establishment of the Syrian National Coalition "as effective representative interlocutors needed for a political transition." 

This is the second resolution on the Syrian conflict to go before the Assembly; last year's got 133 out of 193 votes, a much stronger level of support. 

"I'm convinced a lot of countries voted for this text because they believed they were voting for the winning side," a senior western US diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters in reference to the August 2012 resolution. "They are not so sure anymore."

"Now also you have the Islamist, terrorist factor which is much more conspicuous," they added. 

Russia, a close ally of Assad's regime, firmly opposed the resolution, arguing that it would jeopardize the upcoming conference on peace in Syria. 

Meanwhile, Syria's Internet was reportedly down again as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, the second time in two weeks.

More from GlobalPost: Series: Inside Syria

The New York Times is reporting a top Israeli official said Jerusalem was considering further strikes against Syria and warned Assad would face "crippling consequences" if it retaliated against Israel.

"If Syrian President Assad reacts by attacking Israel, or tries to strike Israel through his terrorist proxies,” the unnamed official said. “He will risk forfeiting his regime.”

A spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded “we’re not going to comment on the story.”


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