Syria death toll rises to 93,000 – UN

The UN said an average of 5,000 people have been killed monthly since July, 2012.

The number of people killed in Syria’s civil war has climbed to at least 93,000, according to a United Nations, UN, human rights estimate relating to the month of April released on Thursday.

The death rate has risen to an average of 5,000 per month since July, according to the estimate, which includes only documented killings.

The office’s previous estimate stood at 60,000 as of late November, while UN General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic had talked of 80,000 deaths in May.

The real fatality figure, however, could be much higher as 38,000 unverified deaths have not been included.

“The constant flow of killings continues at shockingly high levels – with more than 5,000 killings documented every month since last July, including a total of just under 27,000 new killings since Dec. 1,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said.

Civilians have borne the brunt of the conflict, which started with peaceful anti-government protests in March 2011, according to the report.

Suburban areas of the capital Damascus and the northern province of Aleppo have seen the sharpest rises in casualties since November.

“This extremely high rate of killings, month after month, reflects the drastically deteriorating pattern of the conflict over the past year,’’ Pillay said in Geneva.

“Nobody is gaining anything from this senseless carnage, and states with influence could, if they act collectively, do a lot more to bring the conflict to a swift end, thereby saving countless more lives.’’

Inside Syria, meanwhile, rebels seized a major military base in the central province of Hama, a significant gain for opposition forces after recent losses.

Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the rebels had captured the base after clashes with government troops on the outskirts of the town of Morek, near a highway linking Damascus to Aleppo.

The rebels also seized a cache of weapons and ammunition at the base, said the Observatory.

Regime troops were shelling the site to regain it as more reinforcements were sent to the area.

Syria’s official news agency SANA said government troops had destroyed several strongholds of “terrorists” in the southern province of Daraa, referring to insurgents fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

Mr. Al-Assad’s troops, backed by Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement, last week retook control of the strategic town of al-Qussair in the central province of Homs.

Recent battleground gains have boosted the morale of regime forces, who are reportedly pushing to regain rebel-held areas across the country.

(dpa/NAN)


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