UN says 191,000 killed in Syrian war

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Syrians sit on a bus heading to the southern Damascus district of Qadam on August 21, 2014, as they return to their homes after Syrian authorities and rebels agreed a truce on August 18. (Photo: AFP - Youssef Karwashan)

Published Friday, August 22, 2014

The death toll from the war in Syria has topped 191,000, UN rights chief Navi Pillay said Friday, criticizing "international paralysis" on the conflict where jihadis have established a foothold.

Pillay said the 191,369 deaths recorded between March 2011 when the war broke out and April this year, was nearly double that given a year ago, and was likely an underestimate.

Among the dead were 9,000 children, she said, with her spokesman stressing that up to 6,000 people were dying in Syria every month.

Pillay, who Thursday chided the UN Security Council for what she called a lack of resolve in ending crises, said in a statement the dwindling global interest in Syria was "scandalous."

"I deeply regret that, given the onset of so many other armed conflicts in this period of global destabilization, the fighting in Syria and its dreadful impact on millions of civilians has dropped off the international radar," she said.

"The killers, destroyers and torturers in Syria have been empowered and emboldened by the international paralysis," added the outgoing head of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Jihadis of the Islamic State (IS) control large swathes of territory in northern and eastern Syria.

Pillay said there had been "serious allegations that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed time and time again with total impunity" and complained that the deadlocked Security Council had failed to refer the case of Syria to the International Criminal Court "where it clearly belongs."

The United Nations last gave a death toll on the conflict in July 2013 when Secretary General Ban Ki-moon put the number killed at more than 100,000.

It had stopped providing tolls because of concerns over the accuracy of the numbers supplied by a range of sources, Pillay's spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters.

But after working closely with several of the groups, the rights agency again felt it was safe to report the numbers, he said, adding that between 5,000 and 6,000 people were dying in Syria every month.

Nearly 9,000 children, including more than 2,000 under the age of 10, were among the dead, it added, but cautioned that victims' ages had not been recorded in over 80 percent of cases.

The report did not apportion blame for the killings.

(AFP)

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