Over 350,000 killed in Syrian war, claims UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet 

Over 350,000 killed in Syrian war, claims UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet 

Geneva: ‘At least 350,000 have been killed in the Syrian war ongoing for over a decade. The dead include Syrian civilians as well as militants. It indicates a minimum verifiable number and is certainly an undercount of the actual number of killings,’ admitted Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR). A few months ago, a UK-based human rights group claimed that the number of people killed in Syria was over 600,000. 

March this year marks a decade of civil war in Syria. In December 2010, the Arab Spring sparked in Tunisia, North Africa. Over the next three months, the Arab Spring spread across Syria, sparking a mass uprising against the Assad regime. Initially, the civil war broke out between the Assad regime and rebel groups in Syria. However, with the inclusion of IS and Al Qaeda-linked terrorist groups, the scope of the conflict grew. 

‘The conflict raging for the past ten years has claimed the lives of 350,209 people. The maximum causalities were from the Syrian province of Aleppo. Overall, 51,731 people were killed in clashes between the Syrian army and rebels in Aleppo. It is followed by a heavy death recorded in Idlib, Deir ez-Zor province, which was equally alarming,’ Bachelet said. 

‘The information on victims in Syria is obtained by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). The numbers include only those whose names and deaths were registered. However, the death toll in Syria could be considerably higher,’ Bachelet said. Besides, Bachelet said she did not have information on the citizens missing in the decade-long conflict and declared that an independent system would be set up to compile the data. 

There is a considerable discrepancy in the information released by the UN Human Rights Council and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in June. The UK-based group had stated that more than 600,000 were killed in the conflict in Syria in the past decade. The British organization has made the claim citing nearly 500,000 registered documents in Syria. 

In 2015, the Syrian conflict saw the most number of killings. Since 2014, the United Nations has avoided releasing information about the death toll in Syria. Nevertheless, the death toll is claimed to be far higher than the one recorded by the UN and UK-based organization. In addition, there have been reports in the past that claimed the conflict had displaced 6.7 million people and resulted in 6.6 million refugees. 

The conflict in Syria is not yet over. The Assad regime only controls approximately 64% of the Syrian territory. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting against the Syrian government control about 25% of the Northern and North-eastern Syrian territory. Reports reveal that a Turkish-linked group controls 9% of the Syrian territory while the terror group IS controls 1%. 

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