The Assad regime has pledged not to use chemical weapons, which public opinion in various Western countries sees as a red line for intervention. Obama and the United Nations have urged them to only use “conventional weapons,” meaning the current internationally accepted methods of killing people. Not sure it matters much to the 40,000 people who are already dead. As a colleague of mine pointed out, bullets are very basic chemical weapons.
According today’s released numbers by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Syria death toll could be more than 60,000 between 15 March 2011 and 30 November 2012. “Given there has been no let-up in the conflict since the end of November, we can assume that more than 60,000 people have been killed by the beginning of 2013. The number of casualties is much higher than we expected, and is truly shocking,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay (Source: “Data suggests Syria death toll could be more than 60,000, says UN human rights office“, UN News Office, 02.01.2013).