Death toll surpasses 60,000 in conflict-hit Syria, UN estimates

Friday, January 04, 2013
UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky presented the new numbers
on Syrian death toll to reporters in New York
[PHOTO: UNifeed] 
New York: Data analysis suggests that the death toll in the ongoing conflict in Syria has surpassed 60,000, the United Nations human rights office said.

Preliminary analysis carried out by data specialists on behalf of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has led to the compilation of a list of 59,648 individuals reported killed in Syria between 15 March 2011 and 30 November 2012.   

The Spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Martin Nesirky, presented the new numbers to reporters in New York, saying that "the number of casualties is much higher than expected".

He said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay had described the analysis as "a very useful basis upon which future investigations can be built to enhance accountability and provide justice and reparations to victims' families."

According to a news release issued by OHCHR, the preliminary analysis, which took five months to complete, was conducted using a combined list of 147,349 reported killings from seven different sources, fully identified by the first and last name of the victims, as well as the date and location of the deaths. Any reported killing that did not include at least these four elements was excluded from the list.

Nesirky explained that the data from the seven different sources – the Violations Documentation Centre, the Syrian Network for Human Rights, the Syrian Revolution General Council, The Syria Shuhada Website, the March 15 Group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and the Government of Syria – was analysed to "remove duplications in those figures."

The analysts noted that 60,000 is likely to be an underestimate of the actual number of deaths, given that reports containing insufficient information were excluded from the list, and that a significant number of killings may not have been documented at all by any of the seven sources.  

Recent months have witnessed an escalation in the conflict, which began as an uprising against President al-Assad and is now in its 22nd month. The crisis has left four million people inside the country in need of humanitarian assistance, and it is estimated that up to a million Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries will need help during the first half of this year. -UNifeed
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