Syria death toll tops 92,000, U.N. says

Syrian men search for their relatives among the bodies of civilians executed and dumped in the Quweiq river, in the Bustan al-Qasr district of Aleppo, March 11, 2013. Getty

The United Nations says almost 93,000 people have been confirmed killed in the Syrian conflict, but the real number is likely to be far higher.

The U.N. human rights office says it has confirmed the killing of 92,901 people between March 2011 and the end of April 2013.

The U.N.'s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, said Thursday that more than 5,000 killings have been documented every month since last July.

That includes, she said, just less than 27,000 new killings since the start of December. The last analysis found almost 60,000 documented deaths as of the end of November.

Even as the official death toll climbed to such a staggering figure, the war seemed poised to get even bloodier.

Having reclaimed the town of Qusair -- a key transit point in western central Syria which the rebels had relied on to move arms and other supplies up from the south into the country's north - President Assad's forces have begun a push north toward Aleppo.

Aleppo is a sprawling city which rebels have enjoyed significant control over for months. It is home to many of the Sunni Muslim extremist groups fighting alongside moderate Syrian rebels to topple Assad, and it is the gateway for arms coming into the country for opposition forces from Turkey.

Government forces, reportedly bolstered by at hundreds (possibly thousands) of Shiite Muslim militants from the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group, are massing around Aleppo for ahead of an expected offensive to try and take the city.

Rebel factions are also bolstering their defenses around Aleppo, setting the stage for a bloody battle for control of the city which could determine the pace and outcome of the two-year war.

CBS

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