New UN death toll: at least 350,000 people die in Syrian war

The UN human rights office says the death toll is “certainly a lower tally” due to a strict methodology used.

At least 350,209 people have died in Syria’s 10-year war, the United Nations human rights office said, calling the count an “undercount” when it released its first report since 2014 on the death toll from the conflict. .

The figure announced Friday included civilians and combatants and was based on a strict methodology that requires the full name of the deceased, as well as an established date and place of death, the office said.

“On this basis, we have compiled a list of 350,209 identified people who died in the conflict in Syria between March 2011 and March 2021,” United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet told the Rights Council. Humans.

One in 13 victims was a woman or child, he said.

“It indicates a verifiable minimum number, and it certainly is an underestimate of the actual number of murders,” he added.

Bachelet said his office’s previous update, in August 2014, reported that at least 191,369 people had died in the war.

His office was working on a statistical model to provide a more complete picture, which could also help establish accountability for some murders, he said.

The highest number of documented killings, 51,731, was in the Aleppo governorate, long in the hands of the opposition, which became a high point of the conflict.

The conflict, which began as a massive uprising against the government of President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011, quickly morphed into a full-blown war. It unleashed the world’s largest refugee crisis, with Syria’s neighbors hosting 5.6 million people and European countries more than one million.

Al-Assad has retaken most of Syria, but important areas remain out of his control: Turkish forces are deployed across much of the north and northwest, the last significant stronghold of anti-al-Assad rebels, and forces from America is stationed in the Kurds. -controlled east and northeast.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that 500,000 people have died in the war and that it is examining another 200,000 cases.

“It is very difficult to give a statistic that is close to reality,” Rami Abdurrahman, director of the UK-based group, told Reuters news agency. “There are many names and there has to be documentation to be sure.”

Karen Koning AbuZayd, a member of the UN Commission of Inquiry into Syria that investigates war crimes, told the council on Thursday that incidents of illegal and incommunicado detentions by government forces continue “unabated.”

“This is not the time for anyone to think that Syria is a suitable country for the return of its refugees. The war against Syrian civilians continues, ”he said.

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