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Syrian death toll of 92,901 feared to be conservative estimate

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 13th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As the deadly civil war in Syria between government forces and rebels drags onward, the United Nations has announced a figure of 92,901 killed. "Unfortunately, as the study indicates, this is most likely a minimum casualty figure," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says. "The true number of those killed is potentially much higher."

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pillay says that the new figures was the result of an updated analysis carried out by specialists, and covers the period between March 2011 and the end of April 2013.

A dramatic increase in the average monthly number of documented killings since the beginning of the conflict has been noted in the reported. Casualties have grown from around 1,000 per month in the summer of 2011 to an average of more than 5,000 per month since July 2012, according to the U.N. report.

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

Nearly 83 percent of the documented victims are male, while about eight percent are female. The genders of the others were not indicated.

Even more tragically, the report also tallies the deaths of more than 6,500 minors. More than a quarter of them were younger than the age of 10 years old, the report said.

The analysis was not able to differentiate consistently between combatants and noncombatants, and around three-quarters of the reported killings do not record the victim's age, according to the report.

The conflict began after President Bashar al-Assad's forces started a bloody crackdown against largely peaceful protesters in March of 2011. Defecting soldiers and other government opponents slowly began to take up arms.

Later that year the conflict had begun devolving, and it is now a bitter civil war with increasingly sectarian overtones. But getting a clear picture of the conflict has been difficult, with few independent journalists able to report from inside the country, while the government and Syrian rebels and activists often issue contradictory reports of battles and massacres.

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