A new analysis of the Syrian death toll documented 92,901 killings between March 2011 and the end of April 2013, but officials say it is “most likely minimum casualty figure.”
“The constant flow of killings continues at shockingly high levels, with more than 5,000 killings documented every month since last July,” said Ms. Navi Pillay, UN high commissioner for human rights.
“There are well-documented cases of individual children being tortured and executed, and entire families including babies being massacred – which, along with this devastatingly high death toll, is a terrible reminder of just how vicious this conflict has become,” she added.
Among the victims are at least 6,561 children, including 1,729 children younger than 10. At its height from July to October 2012, the number of killings rose above 6,000 per month.
“Civilians are bearing the brunt of widespread, violent and often indiscriminate attacks which are devastating whole swaths of major towns and cities, as well as outlying villages,” Pillay said.
“Government forces are shelling and launching aerial attacks on urban areas day in and day out, and are also using strategic missiles and cluster and thermobaric bombs. Opposition forces have also shelled residential areas, albeit using less fire-power, and there have been multiple bombings resulting in casualties in the heart of cities, especially Damascus.”
The conflict in Syria began in March 2011 when largely peaceful protests against Assad’s autocratic regime were relentlessly cracked down by the regime. Many Syrians took up arms against the regime, turning uprising into an armed rebellion that developed into civil war.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in the report the 26-month-old war in Syria is taking an “unacceptable and unbearable” toll on children with thousands among the death toll.
The office of UN special representative on children in conflict, Leila Zerrougui, said it had received “verified reports that Syrian children are killed or injured in indiscriminate bombings, shot by snipers, used as human shields or victims of terror tactics.”
The most documented killings were in rural Damascus, with 17,800 people dead. Next were Homs, with 16,400; Aleppo, 11,900; and Idlib, 10,300.