The nearly two year long civil war in Syria, has, according to various reports, claimed the lives of some 44,000 people however according to a new report, published by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the actual death toll is alarmingly higher, with the study placing the number of dead at around 60,000.
The report, which has been compiled by UN human rights commissioner Navi Pillay estimated, taken data from various reports, that around 59,648 deaths had occurred until November of 2012 but it was added that this figure was within “minimum bounds,” and that numerous unreported deaths had not been included in the figures. Opposition groups in the country had been reporting that some 44,000 deaths had occurred over the 21 months of the conflict but the UNHCR figures have taken into account various sources, cross checking them rigorously to avoid repetition.
The study, put together by the Benetech research group for the UNHCR, put together an intial list of 147,349 reported deaths, using figures from both the government and the Syrian opposition. These were then whittled down by a process of identifying the deceased with both first and last names and only using reports in which full names were given. The report, titled Preliminary Statistical Analysis of Documentation of Killings in Syria, besides using government sources, which gave figures up to March, 2012, used data from four opposition groups namely the Violations Documentation Centre, the Syrian Network for Human Rights, the Syria Shuhada website and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. After going through this process, the study concluded that 59,648 deaths had occurred but added that, "The statistics presented in this report should be considered minimum bounds," suggesting that the death toll is inordinately higher but difficult to confirm.
Reacting to the figures, Ms Pillay said that they were “truly shocking” adding that, "Given there has been no let-up in the conflict since the end of November, we can assume that more than 60,000 people have been killed by the beginning of 2013.The number of casualties is much higher than we expected, and is truly shocking."
The data has not broken down the dead into whether they were civilians, soldiers or rebels but has highlighted the fact that of the figure, 76 per cent are male, with the majority of the deaths in Rural Damascus and the Homs province, which have seen some of the most intense fighting.