U.N.: Syrian death toll from war exceeds 60K
The United Nations said on Wednesday that more than 60,000 people have died in Syria's bloody internal war, surpassing the Syrian opposition's estimates by one-third.
The head of the United Nations Human Rights office, which released the numbers, faulted the entire international community, including the U.N., for having “fiddled around the edges while Syria burns.”
Meanwhile, close to 100 people were reported killed on Wednesday around Damascus in air raids, including 72 people at a gas station, according to a rebel activist spokesperson. There was no confirmation from the Syrian government.
The U.N. report, from High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, blamed both sides for Syria's violence and expressed alarm that the conflict's turn into a sectarian dispute, pitting the largely Sunni rebel movement against Syrian President Bashar Assad's Shiite-offshoot Alawite minority, makes it all the harder to stop.
“Unless there is a quick resolution to the conflict, I fear thousands more will die or suffer terrible injuries as a result of those who harbor the obstinate belief that something can be achieved by more bloodshed, more torture and more mindless destruction,” Pillay said.
“Those people carrying out these serious crimes should understand that they will one day be brought to justice. The case against them will only be strengthened by adding more crimes to those already committed.”
Pillay described the toll as evidence of the devastation the war has visited on ordinary Syrians.
“As the situation has continued to degenerate, increasing numbers have also been killed by anti-government armed groups, and there has been a proliferation of serious crimes including war crimes, and — most probably — crimes against humanity, by both sides,” Pillay said.
“Cities, towns and villages have been, and are continuing to be, devastated by aerial attacks, shelling, tank fire, bomb attacks and street-to-street fighting.”
Rebel activist groups previously put the death toll at more than 45,000.
The U.N. said it could not make a distinction between civilian and combat deaths. It billed its research as “exhaustive” and starting from the beginning of the Syrian uprising in March 2011 when largely peaceful demonstrations were suppressed by Assad's security forces, through the opposition's metamorphosis into an armed rebel movement.
The researchers examined data of 147,349 deaths from seven separate sources and then struck away deaths reported twice, leaving a total of 59,648 deaths through the end of November.
“Given there has been no let-up in the conflict since the end of November, we can assume that more than 60,000 people have been killed by the beginning of 2013,” Pillay said. “The number of casualties is much higher than we expected, and is truly shocking.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- U.S. military shifts strategy to smaller Iraq force
- Lack of money may crush ISIS
- Egypt’s fixation on dictator Mubarak trial wanes
- Ukraine aims to ride reform to European Union
- Iraqi forces claim 2 towns wrested from ISIS
- Putin says he won’t be Russia’s president for life
- Islamic State got up to $45M in ransom payments
- U.S. forces help rescue hostages in Yemen
- Israelis get eyes in sky for Jerusalem patrols
- Bus station blast kills 40 in Nigeria
- OPEC to maintain crude oil output target