Syrian Conflict Claims 93,000 Lives, UN Reports

The Syrian conflict, several months into its third year now, has reached a confirmed death count of 92,901 individuals, said the United Nations in a new report released Thursday.

The updated figure was announced from the UN’s human rights office in Geneva, which included new numbers from the Syrian conflict which in recent weeks has seen a major increase in violence.

The recent upswing in Syrian deaths lately can be largely attributed by an aggressive new push by President Bashir al-Assad’s loyalist forces reinforced by Hezbollah fighters to hit strategically key rebel locations.

This drive has lead to several recent major victories for Assad’s forces, including the recapture of Qusayr, a major Syrian rebel stronghold. Assad forces have also reclaimed the Syrian side of the Golan Heights crossing, another key victory.

Though the Syrian conflict has, at least at present, shifted in Assad’s favor, rebel forces have executed several bloody retaliatory strikes against Hezbollah and Assad forces, including an attack being called a “massacre” in eastern Syria earlier this week.

The report says that in the last year, the average deaths in Syria have reached a rate of almost 5,000 documented deaths per month.

UN official Navi Pillay said that the majority of the deaths in these figures are civilians. Pillay also stated that confirming casualties is difficult, and suggested the 93,000 figure may be lower than the actual death toll.

Deaths in Syria began in March 2011 following what were peaceful anti-government and anti-Assad protests that thousands of Syrians participated in. Demanding an end to the autocracy of the Assads, the ruling family which has controlled the nation for generations, the peaceful protesters were met with a zero tolerance government crackdown.

Syrian civilians began responding to Assad’s oppressive tactics with force, the beginnings of the violence which today still seems to have no clear end in sight.

This report from the UN comes as the US and other nations debate what role, if any, should be played in bringing the on-going Syrian conflict to a peaceful resolution.

[Image via Sadik Gulec /]