RH: In the latest violence, dozens were killed in a rebellious Damascus suburb when a government air strike turned a petrol station into an inferno, incinerating drivers who had rushed there for a rare chance to fill their tanks, activists said.
"I counted at least 30 bodies. They were either burnt or dismembered," said Abu Saeed, an activist who arrived in the area an hour after the 1 p.m. (1100 GMT) raid in Muleiha, a suburb on the eastern edge of the capital.
U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay said in Geneva that researchers cross-referencing seven sources over five months of analysis had listed 59,648 people killed in Syria between March 15, 2011 and November 30, 2012.
"The number of casualties is much higher than we expected and is truly shocking," she said. "Given that there has been no let-up in the conflict since the end of November, we can assume that more than 60,000 people have been killed by the beginning of 2013."
There was no breakdown by ethnicity or information about whether the dead were rebels, soldiers or civilians. There was also no estimate of an upper limit of the possible toll.
Previously, the opposition-linked Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group put the toll at around 45,000 confirmed dead but said the real number was likely to be higher.
FATAL RUSH FOR PETROL
Muleiha, the target of Wednesday's air strike, is a residential and industrial area in the eastern Ghouta region of Damascus that also houses a Syrian air defense base.
Video footage taken by activists showed the body of a man in a helmet still perched on a motorcycle amid flames engulfing the scene. Another man was shown carrying a dismembered body.