Death toll in Syria's war tops 160,000
Associated Press | May 19, 2014
The death toll in Syria's three-year conflict has climbed past 160,000, an activist group said Monday, a harrowing figure that reflects the relentless bloodletting in a civil war that appears no closer to being resolved.
The grim tally, however, only presents one facet of the tremendous suffering that Syrians have endured since the revolt against President Bashar Assad erupted in March 2011. The crisis has also uprooted some 6.5 million people from their homes, forced 2.7 million to flee the country, laid waste to cities and towns alike, and unleashed sectarian hatreds that have rippled across the region.
The government has presented Syria's June 3 presidential election, which Assad is widely expected to win, as a means to end the conflict. The Syrian opposition and its Western allies have denounced the vote as a farce aimed solely at lending Assad a veneer of electoral legitimacy.
It also remains unclear how the government can hold a credible vote when the nation is engulfed in fighting and a significant chunk of the country is in opposition hands.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday it has documented 162,402 deaths in the conflict, including civilians, rebels and members of the Syrian military. That figure also contains militiamen, such as members the Lebanese Hezbollah militant group who have been fighting alongside Assad's forces, as well as foreign fighters among the opposition forces.
The Observatory remains the sole organization providing a reliable tally of Syria's war dead.
The United Nations has stopped updating its own tally of the Syrian dead, saying it can no longer verify the sources of information. The world body's last count in late July was 100,000 killed.
The Observatory bases its figures on information it obtains from a network of activists inside Syria. Its numbers are based on the names of those killed, collected by activists who document the dead in hospitals, morgues and identify them from video materials.
Civilians comprised about a third, or 53,978, of the Observatory's new toll. Those deaths include 8,607 children and 5,586 women.
Labels: Man-made Disasters