At least 93,000 people have been killed in Syria since peaceful protests against President Bashar al-Assad more than two years ago sparked a civil war, the United Nations said in an analysis of casualties.
In an update of the inaugural January study, the UN examined seven different datasets of killings between March 2011 and April 2013 provided by human rights groups and one by the government that document deaths up to March 2012 only. The study incorporated only fully identified fatalities, which include the victim’s name, date and location of the killing, the UN said.
While the eight collated databases reported 92,901 unique killings, the “true” number is “potentially much higher” as nearly 38,000 cases were excised for insufficient information. There is also “a strong likelihood that a significant number” of deaths weren’t reported at all, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement from Geneva today.
Participation of neighboring Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah militia to back Assad has morphed civil strife between an Alawite-led minority and mostly Sunni rebels into a broader regional conflict along sectarian lines. The capture last week by forces loyal to Assad of a strategic stronghold has been described as an important turning point for the turmoil in his favor.
While the analysis was not able to differentiate between combatants and non-combatants, civilians are mostly “bearing the brunt” of the conflict as Assad uses strategic missiles and thermobaric bombs, Pillay said. Opposition forces are also bombing residential areas, though with less fire-power.
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