(NEW YORK) — A leading Syrian activist believes his country is perilously close to becoming “the new Somalia or the new Afghanistan” where lawlessness pervades amid a low-grade civil war involving government troops and rebel forces.
Rami Abdelrahman with the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights made that observation Wednesday following reports of dozens of more deaths in a 16-month conflict that has cost between 12,000 and 14,000 lives.
While those opposed to President Bashar al-Assad’s rule have endured the brunt of the violence, the military has suffered numerous casualties as evidenced by the 28 Syrian soldiers reported killed in fighting Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross said it has received assurances from both sides that it will be allowed to evacuate wounded people from the city of Homs, one of the flashpoints of the ongoing crackdown instituted by al-Assad.
In the middle of all this are 300 United Nations monitors whose observance of a failed ceasefire pact was suspended last weekend. However, Major General Robert Mood, who heads the team, says his monitors will remain in Syria in hopes of resuming their mission.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Sugam Pokharel and AJ Willingham, CNN
Alanna Petroff, CNN