SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 22 September 2021, Wednesday |

A decade of war in Syria killed over 388,000: monitor

The overall death toll for Syria’s civil war has reached 388,652 since it started a decade ago this month, a war monitor reported on Sunday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the tally includes around 117,388 civilians, among them at least 22,000 children.

Attacks by the Syrian regime and allied militia forces accounted for the majority of civilian deaths, said the Britain-based monitor which relies on sources inside Syria for its reports.

The Observatory’s previous figures were issued in December and stood at more than 387,000.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the observatory, said 2020 saw the lowest annual death toll since the war started with just over 10,000 deaths.

Battles slowed this year as a ceasefire held in northwestern Syria and attention turned to containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Observatory also documented more than 16,000 deaths in government prisons and detention centers since the conflict erupted in 2011 after the brutal repression of anti-government demonstrations.

But it added that the real number was likely higher because its tally does no include 88,000 people believed to have died of torture in regime prisons.

Today the Damascus government controls more than 60% of Syria after a string of Russia-backed victories against jihadists and rebels since 2015.

Among the regions still beyond its reach are the last rebel enclave of Idlib in the northwest, Turkish-held areas along the northern border, and northeastern parts of the country held by US-backed Kurdish forces.

The war has forced more than 50% of the country’s pre-war population to flee their homes.

Nearly 200,000 people have gone missing, the war monitor says.