Monitor puts death toll at 82,000

AFP-JIJI

More than 80,000 people have been killed in Syria’s conflict since it erupted more than two years ago, a monitoring group said Sunday. Nearly half of those who have died were civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Britain-based watchdog said it has documented the killing of 82,257 people, including 34,473 civilians, among them 4,788 children and 3,049 women. It has also recorded the deaths of 16,687 rebels, including former military personnel.

The Observatory said 16,729 soldiers and more than 12,000 “shabiha” (militiamen supporting the regime of President Bashar Assad) and regime informants have also been killed. The bodies of another 2,368 people have been recovered from across Syria, it added.

The conflict started in March 2011 as a peaceful uprising against Assad but morphed into a civil war after the army unleashed a brutal crackdown against dissent. Some 1.4 million Syrians have fled the country, and 4.2 million have become internally displaced, the United Nations says.

The Observatory says its toll does not include more than 10,000 people missing in detention in regime jails, or some 2,500 prisoners who are currently being kept in rebel hands.