“Syrian opposition groups that track casualties reported on Friday that the previous day was the deadliest so far this year, and possibly in the entire Syrian uprising, with as many as 190 civilians killed in a 24-hour period,” The New York Times is reporting.
According to Reuters, “activists said more than 50 of those killed on Thursday died in Douma, about 9 miles outside the capital Damascus.”
The Associated Press adds that “a local activist who spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons said the shelling was ‘relentless’ throughout Thursday, and exploding shells killed people in their homes.”
As always regarding events inside Syria, it’s not possible for journalists to immediately verify such claims because President Bashar Assad’s regime has not allowed them to report freely inside the country. But United Nations officials have independently investigated many of the activists’ previous accounts and determined they are credible.
It’s believed, U.N. officials have said, that more than 10,000 civilians have been killed since anti-Assad protests began in March 2011 — and that most of the deaths have been caused by government forces or militias loyal to Assad. The regime blames most deaths on “terrorists.”
Meanwhile, foreign ministers from major nations will meet Saturday in Geneva and al-Jazeera reports that U.N. envoy to Syria Kofi Annan says he is “optimistic” about those leaders reaching some sort of agreement on what to do next regarding the crisis in Syria.