The ongoing civil war in Syria continues to set all the wrong kinds of records as last month proved to be the deadliest so far in the 17-month old revolt. Activists say that more than 5,000 people were killed during the month of August, more than three times the monthly average since the conflict began last year. The United Nations says 1,600 people were killed in the last week alone. That would put the total number of Syrian deaths since the spring of 2011 at somewhere between 23,000 and 26,000.

The Red Cross/Crescent also says that more than 100,000 refugees have left the country just in the last month, another monthly record, and nearly half of the total number of those who have fled thoughout the entire conflict. Many have even begun to reach Europe where they are applying for asylum. The ICRC met with president Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday to discuss humanitarian operations, but that seems unlikely to change matters on the ground. Medics and other humanitarian groups have not been granted safe passage into the war zones, nor have civilians been given a chance to evacuate battleground neighborhoods without becoming targets. 

Despite the deepening crisis there is still no movement among foreign nations to stage an intervention in the conflict. As long as Russia, China, and Iran continue to block proceedings at the United Nations and support Assad on the ground, the political will just doesn't exist for an outside army to try and put a stop to the fighting. Western governments keep asserting that Assad's downfall is only a matter of time, but until that time comes he will continue to lay waste to the entire country.