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Graveyard in Syria / AFP
Graveyard in Syria / AFP

UN: Syria death toll at 93,000

(Dp-news)

UN- The United Nations says nearly 93,000 have been confirmed killed in the civil war, with the real number likely being far higher. Civilians are bearing the brunt of the fighting in Syria, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) head Navi Pillay, said Thursday in Geneva.



“The constant flow of killings continues at shockingly high levels,” Pillay said in a statement in Geneva.

“with more than 5,000 killings documented every month since last July, including a total of just under 27,000 new killings since Dec. 1.” she added.





Pillay also cautioned that the analysis was conservative, and that “the true number of those killed is potentially much higher.”



At least 93,000 people have been killed in Syria since the start of the conflict, according to latest United Nations figures.

This represents a rise of more than 30,000 since the UN last issued figures covering the period to November 2012.

At least 5,000 people have been dying in Syria every month since last July, the UN's human rights body says. But it says these statistics are an underestimate as it believes many deaths have not been reported.



Over 80% of those killed were men, but the OHCHR says it has also documented the deaths of more than 1,700 children under the age of 10.



The initial pool of data showed a total of 263,055 reported killings. Analysts eliminated about 37,000 cases that did not include the victim’s full name, date and the location of death. They then crosschecked the verified deaths from the different lists to eliminate double-counting, a complex task owing to the way Arabic names may be rendered differently in different contexts.



The largest number of killings has been recorded around Damascus, Homs, Aleppo and Idlib, and more than four out of five victims have been men.

OHCHR'S report said the biggest numbers of documented killings throughout the conflict have been recorded in the governorates of rural Damascus (17,800 deaths), Homs (16,400), and Aleppo (11,900).



The sharpest increases in deaths since November 2012 were recorded in the governorates which surround Damascus and Aleppo with 6,200 and 4,800 new documented deaths respectively.



But the United Nations was unable to state definitively what proportion of those killed had been combatants.

Pillay said the killings of “at least 6,561 minors, including at least 1,729 children under 10 years old” were documented, and that there were “well-documented cases of individual children being tortured and executed, and entire families, including babies, being massacred — which, along with this devastatingly high death toll, is a terrible reminder of just how vicious this conflict has become.”



There were "cases of individual children being tortured and executed, and entire families, including babies, being massacred - which, along with this devastatingly high death toll, is a terrible reminder of just how vicious this conflict has become," said OHCHR head Navi Pillay.



OHCHR called for an immediate ceasefire "before tens of thousands more people are killed or injured". Pillay called for “an immediate cease-fire,” saying, “Nobody is gaining anything from this senseless carnage.”



She also urged the international community to help broker an end to the conflict. “The only answer is a negotiated political solution,” Pillay said. “Tragically, shamefully, nothing will restore the 93,000 or more individual lives already lost.”



OHCHR said the toll had been compiled by a non-profit organisation which specialises in statistical analysis, using the following steps:

The list was compiled using datasets from eight different sources, including figures from the Syrian government and activist groups



Each casualty was fully identified by the name of the victim, as well as the date and location of the death. Any reported killing that did not include at least these three elements was excluded

Each reported killing was compared to all the other reported killings in order to identify duplicates

The analysis was not able to differentiate consistently between combatants and non-combatants



The revised toll came the day after a separate global UN report called the number of deaths among Syrian children "unbearable".

The study said government forces and rebels were using boys and girls as "suicide bombers or human shields".



Children in Syria were suffering "maybe the heaviest toll" of anywhere in the world, said UN special representative Leila Zerrougui, who presented the findings .

"They are killed, they are maimed, they are recruited, they are detained, they are tortured", she told journalists in New York.



The report accused Syrian troops of torturing children suspected of having links to rebel groups. But it said armed opposition groups, including the Free Syrian Army, were also using children, both in combat and in support roles such as transporting supplies and loading cartridges.



Syrian regime’s forces started a bloody crackdown against largely peaceful protesters in March 2011, and defecting soldiers and other government opponents slowly began to take up arms. By fall of that year the conflict had begun devolving, and it is now a bitter civil war with increasingly sectarian overtones. But getting a clear picture of the conflict has been difficult, with few independent journalists able to report from inside the country, while the government and Syrian rebels and activists often issue contradictory reports of battles and massacres.



The UN latest study builds on an earlier report that found about 60,000 documented deaths through Nov. 30, 2012.



The new information was distilled from data provided by eight different sources, including human rights groups and Syrian activists. President Bashar al-Assad’s government provided data only until March 2012, according to Rupert Colville, a spokesman for Pillay.

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