U.N. says 93,000 killed in Syrian conflict, fears for Aleppo

GENEVA Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:33pm EDT

1 of 3. Barricades are seen on a street in Aleppo's countryside, June 13, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/George Ourfalian

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GENEVA (Reuters) - The death toll in Syria reached at least 93,000 at the end of April, but the true number of victims from the violence now in its third year may be much higher, the United Nations human rights office said on Thursday.

Navi Pillay, U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights, voiced fears that the bloodshed in recent battles for the Syrian border town of Qusair would be repeated in the northern city of Aleppo.

"All the reports I'm receiving are of augmentation of resources and forces (for an Aleppo offensive) on the part of the government," Pillay told Reuters Television.

The military balance has shifted in President Bashar al-Assad's favour in the last two months, with Lebanon's Shi'ite Hezbollah fighting openly alongside the Syrian military, helping it to recapture Qusair from rebels on June 5. Rebel forces have held parts of Aleppo, Syria's biggest city, since July.

The new U.N. figure of 93,000 people killed in the Syrian conflict, which began with peaceful protests against Assad in March 2011 and turned into an armed rebellion a few months later, replaces a U.N. estimate of 80,000 issued in mid-May.

The U.N. report said almost 38,000 reported killings had been excluded because records - which require the victim's full name and date and location of death - were incomplete.

"The true number of those killed is potentially much higher," Pillay said.

The death toll has averaged more than 5,000 a month since July, and Pillay said this reflected the "drastically deteriorating pattern of the conflict over the past year".

The Damascus region, Homs and Aleppo have been hardest hit.

The U.N. figures, based on data from the Syrian government and seven human rights monitoring groups, include civilians and combatants, but give no breakdown. They show that at least 6,561 children were among the dead.

"There are also 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," Pillay said.

One of the monitoring groups, the British-based, pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said on Thursday it had now confirmed at least 98,000 deaths in the conflict, but that the total figure could exceed 130,000.

It said the confirmed toll included 25,040 Syrian soldiers and security personnel, and 17,107 pro-Assad militiamen.

Other killings are likely to have occurred without being documented, said the U.N. study, carried out by the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, a U.S.-based non-profit organization.

(Here is a link to the full report: here )

(Additional reporting by Vincent Fribault in Geneva and Oliver Holmes in Beirut; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

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Comments (19)
lex_70 wrote:
We can only be thankful that in this technological age it is impossible to subvert the truth forever. The free exchange of ideas and information means we no longer have to rely merely on mainstream media to report events.

The world can plainly see the puppet masters behind this tragic farce.

History is no longer just written by the victor. The game has changed for the puppeteers, and they ought be careful what side of history they fall.

Jun 13, 2013 6:40am EDT  --  Report as abuse
deerecub1977 wrote:
There will be Armageddon before 2020 how can there not be?

Jun 13, 2013 7:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
kenradke11 wrote:
And that is precisely why this war needs intervention and closure now…too little too late for the 93,000 perished..shame on the world body for standing idly by and watching the slaughter continue.

Jun 13, 2013 7:57am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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