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150,000 flee Syria in one month: UN

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A record 150,000 people fled Syria this month to escape the worsening conflict now trapped in a "destructive military spiral," the top UN political official said Tuesday.

UN under secretary general Jeffrey Feltman also pointedly told the UN Security Council that abuses committed by President Bashar al-Assad's forces were "significantly" worse than those of the opposition, even though both could face war crimes charges.

"The humanitarian situation is becoming worse in Syria," Feltman said. Four million people in the country now need humanitarian assistance. Of these, two million are internally displaced.

But Feltman said the conflict has now "led more than 900,000 people to flee to neighboring countries, including over 150,000 this month alone."

"Even tentative steps to dialogue are struggling to take root. The destructive military spiral churns more forcefully each day and threatens to pull its neighbors, most notably and worrisomely Lebanon, into its vortex," he said.

"Regrettably, the warring parties remain locked in a military logic which is bound to bring more death and destruction."

The UN estimates that more than 70,000 people have died in the nearly two-year-old Syrian conflict and Feltman said "both government and opposition forces have becoming increasingly violent and reckless with human life.

"Both have committed abuses amounting to war crimes, although the scale of abuses committed by the government side significantly exceeds those of the opposition."

tw/sst

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130226/150000-flee-syria-one-month-un