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UN: More Than 300,000 Civilians Killed in 10 Years of Syrian War


FILE - Residents walk through the destruction of the once rebel-held Salaheddine neighborhood in the eastern Aleppo, Syria, Jan. 20, 2017. The United Nations said the first 10 years of Syria's conflict, which began in 2011, killed more than 300,000 civilians.

More than 300,000 civilians were killed in Syria between March 1, 2011, when that country's civil war began, and the end of March 2021, the U.N. Human Rights office reports.

A new statistical analysis based on available data has arrived at this figure. This is the highest estimate to date of conflict-related civilian deaths in Syria. Each of the civilian deaths in the report is documented, including the full name of the victim, and the date and location of death.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said the conflict-related casualty figures in the report are not just a set of abstract numbers but represent individual human beings.

Her spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani, said the high commissioner believes monitoring and documenting these deaths is key in helping families and communities establish the truth about the fate of their loved ones. It will allow them to seek accountability and pursue effective remedies.

"This analysis will also give a clearer sense of the severity and the scale of the conflict," Shamdasani said. "And let us be clear, these are the people who were killed as a direct result of war operations. And this does not include the many, many more civilians who died due to the loss of access to health care, to food, to clean water and to other essential human rights."

The United Nations reports the war has forcibly displaced 13.5 million people as refugees and internally displaced. That is more than two-thirds of Syria's population of around 18 million people. The U.N. estimates 11 million people inside Syria need international humanitarian assistance to survive.

The report by the high commissioner's office notes the extent of civilian casualties in the last 10 years represents 1.5 percent of Syria's population at the beginning of the conflict in 2011.

Authors of the report say this large number of casualties points to a serious failure by the warring parties to respect international humanitarian law on the protection of civilians. They warn civilian deaths will continue to rise for as long as the war goes on.

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