Syrian civil war deaths hit 191,000

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The death toll in the Syrian civil war has crossed 191,000, the United Nations said Friday, in announcing an estimate that has doubled since last year.wpid-syrianrevolution-flag-300x225.jpg

“The killers, destroyers and torturers in Syria have been empowered and emboldened by the international paralysis,” said Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

An updated analysis showed that 191,369 people were killed in Syria between March 2011 and the end of April 2014, she said.

Some 85.1 per cent (162,925) of the victims documented are male, and 9.3 per cent (17,795) are female, according to the report.

As in the previous reports, the analysis was not able to differentiate between combatants and non-combatants, but would also likely include recent killings by the al-Qaeda splinter group Islamic State, which has its stronghold in the north-eastern Syrian city of al-Raqqa.

“With additional killings reported from earlier periods, in addition to the new killings that have taken place, the total is more than double the number documented a year ago,” Pillay said in Geneva.

In January, the UN said it had stopped counting the dead in Syria, citing an inability to access conflict zones. In July 2013, it put the toll at 100,000.

The greatest number of documented killings was recorded in the province of rural Damascus near the capital, with the next highest numbers recorded in the volatile provinces of Aleppo, Homs, Idlib, Daraa and Hama.

The latest UN estimate comes a day after the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said at least 180,000 people had been killed in the Syrian conflict.

The new UN report was compiled using datasets from five different sources, three of which have reported killings throughout the whole three-year period, and two of which – including the Syrian government – cover only part of the period.

“”The enumeration is not the complete number of conflict-related killings in Syria,” Pillay said.

“It is scandalous that the predicament of the injured, displaced, the detained, and the relatives of all those who have been killed or are missing is no longer attracting much attention, despite the enormity of their suffering,” she added.

Pillay castigated the UN Security Council for not referring Syria to the International Criminal Court.

“There are serious allegations that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed time and time again with total impunity, yet the Security Council has failed to refer the case of Syria to the International Criminal Court, where it clearly belongs.”

The unrest in Syria began in March 2011 with peaceful anti-government protests, which quickly descended into civil war after President Bashar al-Assad’s troops tried to quell the uprising.

The Islamic State – an extremist Sunni group – has in recent weeks overrun large parts of northern Iraq as well, and its fighters move with relative ease across the border from Syria.

On Thursday, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, said that Islamic State cannot be defeated without action against its strongholds in Syria.

GNA
PDC

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