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Syrian Conflict Death Toll Nears 70,000

Scott Peterson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The death toll from the two-year-long conflict in Syria is apparently higher than previously thought, with the United Nations putting the number of fatalities at close to 70,000.

It was just last month that the U.N. Human Rights commissioner, Navi Pillay, announced that 60,000 people have died since March 2011, when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began a government crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators that soon escalated into a full-scale civil war.

The fighting has grown more intense since last summer, with casualty counts seemingly jumping higher every week as al-Assad is pulling out all the stops -- short of using chemical weapons -- to keep his regime from falling.

Still, even as most world leaders blame al-Assad for inciting most of the violence in Syria, Pillay is angry with the international community for doing very little to end the conflict that shows no signs of slowing down.

She told the Security Council, "The lack of consensus on Syria and the resulting inaction has been disastrous, and civilians on all sides have paid the price."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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