Death toll climbs to 380,000 in Syria’s al­most 9-year war

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Beirut, Le­banon - Al­most nine years of civil war in Syria has left more than 380,000 peo­ple dead in­clud­ing over 115,000 civil­ians, a war mon­i­tor said in a new toll on Satur­day.

The Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights, which has a net­work of sources across the coun­try, said they in­cluded around 22,000 chil­dren and more than 13,000 women.

The con­flict flared af­ter un­prece­dented anti-gov­ern­ment protests in the south­ern city of Daraa on March 15, 2011.

De­mon­stra­tions spread across Syria and were bru­tally suppressed by the regime, trig­ger­ing a multi-front armed con­flict that has drawn in mil­i­tants and for­eign pow­ers.

The con­flict has dis­placed or sent into ex­ile around 13mn Syr­i­ans, caus­ing bil­lions of dol­lar­sworth of de­struc­tion.

The Bri­tain-based Ob­ser­va­tory’s last ca­su­alty toll on the Syr­ian con­flict, is­sued in March last year, stood at more than 370,000 dead.

The lat­est toll in­cluded more than 128,000 Syr­ian and nonSyr­ian pro-regime fight­ers.

More than half of those were Syr­ian sol­diers, while 1,682 were from the Le­banese Shi­ite group Hezbol­lah whose mem­bers have been fighting in Syria since 2013.

The war has also taken the lives of more than 69,000 op­po­si­tion, Is­lamist, and Kur­dish-led fight­ers.

It has killed more than 67,000 mil­i­tants, mainly from the Is­lamic State group and Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS), a group dom­i­nated by Syria’s former Al Qaeda af­fil­i­ate.

The to­tal death toll does not in­clude some 88,000 peo­ple who died of tor­ture in regime jails, or thou­sands miss­ing af­ter be­ing ab­ducted by all sides in the con­flict.

With the sup­port of pow­er­ful al­lies Rus­sia and Iran, Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad has inched his way back in re­cent years to con­trol­ling al­most twothirds of the coun­try.

That comes af­ter a string of vic­to­ries against rebels and mil­i­tants since 2015, but also his forces be­ing de­ployed to parts of the north­east of the coun­try un­der a deal to halt a Turk­ish cross-bor­der op­er­a­tion last year.

Sev­eral parts of the coun­try, how­ever, re­main be­yond the reach of the Da­m­as­cus gov­ern­ment. They in­clude the last ma­jor op­po­si­tion bas­tion of Idlib, a re­gion of some three mil­lion peo­ple that is ruled by the mil­i­tants of HTS. An es­ca­la­tion in vi­o­lence there in re­cent weeks has caused 284,000 peo­ple to flee their homes, ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions.

In the north­east, Turk­ish troops and their prox­ies con­trol a strip of land along the bor­der af­ter seiz­ing it from Kur­dish fight­ers ear­lier this year.

(AFP)

This file photo shows chil­dren near a camp at Khir­bet al-Joz in the west of the north­west­ern Idlib prov­ince on De­cem­ber 12, 2019

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