Activists: 5K Aug. deaths in Syria

Deadliest month of war comes as regime begins attacks from air

Beirut — Activist groups said Sunday that about 5,000 people were killed in Syria's civil war in August, the highest figure reported in more than 17 months of fighting as President Bashar Assad's regime unleashed crushing air power against the revolt.
The U.N. children's fund UNICEF put the death toll for last week alone at 1,600, the largest weekly figure for the entire uprising.
"The past month witnessed large massacres and the regime was conducting wide operations to try to crush the uprising," said Omar Idilbi, a Cairo-based activist with the Local Coordination Committees group. "Last month's acts of violence were unprecedented."
The civil war witnessed a major turning point in August when Assad's forces began widely using air power for the first time. The fighting also reached Syria's largest city, Aleppo, which had been relatively quiet for most of the uprising.
The Britain-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 5,440 people, including 4,114 civilians were killed in August. The LCC put the toll at 4,933 civilians.
Syria's uprising has been the bloodiest in the Arab Spring that has already removed leaders in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Libya.
Turkey this week called for the U.N. to authorize creation of a safe zone in Syria for tens of thousands fleeing their homes. Britain and France have left open the possibility of more aggressive action, including a no-fly zone to protect a safe area — though that still seems a remote possibility.


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