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UN: Syria Conflict Toll Is Nearly 200,000

  • Lisa Schlein

In this photo taken during a Syrian government-led media tour, buildings damaged during battles between Syrian troops and rebels stand along an empty street in Mleiha, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) southeast of downtown Damascus, Syria, Aug. 15, 2014.

In this photo taken during a Syrian government-led media tour, buildings damaged during battles between Syrian troops and rebels stand along an empty street in Mleiha, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) southeast of downtown Damascus, Syria, Aug. 15, 2014.

The United Nations says more than 191,000 people have been killed since the start of the Syrian conflict in March 2011. The U.N. Human Rights Office says probably many more have been killed than the latest report indicates.

The report says its documented death toll has doubled since a year ago. Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, says the international community's failure to act to stop the killings has been scandalous.

Syria, deaths from conflict, Aug. 22, 2014

Syria, deaths from conflict, Aug. 22, 2014

Her spokesman, Rupert Colville, says Pillay feels the fighting in Syria's dreadful impact on millions of civilians has dropped off the international radar.

“She goes on to say it is a real indictment of the age we live in that not only has this been allowed to continue so long, with no end in sight, but it is also now impacting horrendously on hundreds of thousands of other people across the border in northern Iraq, and the violence has also spilled over into Lebanon," said Colville.

This latest study, the third in a series, is updated through the end of April. It gives the names of the victims as well as the dates and places where they died. Statisticians crosschecked the information against other data to wean out duplicate or erroneously reported deaths.

The report says the greatest number of documented killings occurred in and around Damascus, followed by Aleppo, Homs, Idlib, Dara'a and Hama. More than 85 percent of the victims were male. However, analysts were not able to differentiate the casualty lists between combatants and civilians.

The report documents the killings of 8,803 minors, including 2,165 children under 10 years old, but the authors say the real total is likely higher.

Colville says everyone involved in the fighting is responsible for the killings and atrocities being committed. The U.N. spokesman named the government of President Bashar al-Assad, the military and opposition groups, including militants from the Islamic State group, as complicit in these crimes, and he adds that High Commissioner Pillay says the Security Council must share the blame, because it could have done more reduce the bloodshed.

“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," he said.

Colville notes that the monthly death toll in Syria remains between 5,000 and 6,000 lives - an extraordinarily high number.

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