27 January 2012
A member of the Free Syrian Army takes position in Al-Qusayr, during an operation against government forces. Some 65 people were killed in the town, located 25 kilometers from Homs, during a three-month siege.
Ongoing conflict in Syria between troops and militia loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, and dissidents of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other rebel groups, led to escalating fatalities and a massive exodus of refugees. Government forces were accused of deliberate mass targeting and indiscriminate use of airpower, particularly in battles for the cities of Homs and Aleppo.
A peace plan drafted by UN envoy Kofi Annan in March failed, and a further UN-brokered ceasefire during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha in October also collapsed. By November, an estimated 2.5 million people had been displaced, with tens of thousands crossing borders into neighboring Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. A UN survey at the end of the year held the death toll nationwide to be at least 60,000.