Top of the Morning: Syrian Death Toll Rises; The Big Foreign Policy Announcement in the SOTU

Top stories from DAWNS Digest

UN Official: As Many As 70,000 Killed in Syrian Conflict

The numbers keep getting worse. “Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, repeated her call for the 15-member council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court to send a message to both parties in the conflict that there will be consequences for their actions. The death toll in Syria is ‘probably now approaching 70,000,’ Pillay told a council debate on protection of civilians in armed conflict. On January 2, Pillay said more than 60,000 people had been killed during the revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which began nearly two years ago with peaceful protests but turned violent after Assad’s forces tried to crush the demonstrations.” (Reuters

Obama Announces Withdrawal of 34,000 US Troops from Afghanistan

In his state of the Union Address on Tuesday night, President Obama promised big scale backs of the US military presence in Afghanistan. “The move will reduce the number of U.S. forces in the country by more than half. There are now about 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. A Washington Post poll on Tuesday showed that 80% of registered voters support the president’s policy to end the war in Afghanistan. In January, Obama met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Washington, where they agreed to accelerate the military transition in Afghanistan.” (CNN