In Focus | Syria

6,000 killed in Syria in March: the war’s bloodiest month

Nearly 300 children among dead in March, says Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

  • Reuters
  • Published: 21:07 April 1, 2013
  • Gulf News

A Free Syrian Army fighter holds his weapon
  • Image Credit: Reuters
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter holds his weapon near the frontline in Sidi Meqdad area in the suburbs of Damascus, March 31, 2013.

Beirut: March was the bloodiest month yet in Syria’s two-year conflict, with more than 6,000 people killed, a third of them civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday.

The group opposes President Bashar Al Assad but has monitored human rights violations on both sides of a revolt that began as peaceful protests but is now a brutal war between forces loyal to Al Assad and an array of rebel militias.

The Britain-based Observatory, which has a network of sources across Syria, has documented 62,554 dead in the conflict, said Rami Abdul Rahman, the head of the group.

“But we know the number is much, much higher,” he told Reuters by telephone. “We estimate it is actually around 120,000 people. Many death tolls are more difficult to document so we are not officially including them yet.”

As in previous months, around a third of those killed in March were civilians, the Observatory said. Almost 300 children died, taking the number killed in the conflict to around 4,390.

The United Nations says more than 70,000 people have died in Syria. Abdul Rahman said both sides have found ways to minimize their dead to keep morale high among their followers.

“There are some groups where it took us longer to get access to sources. For example we started counting deaths much later among the Shabiha,” said Abdul Rahman, referring to pro-Assad militias that have fought alongside security forces.

His group has a rough count of 12,000 dead Shabiha fighters but has yet to include those in its toll.

Also unknown is the number of dead among the tens of thousands jailed by Al Assad’s forces since the conflict began. There was also no way to count the number of Syrian soldiers killed after being captured by rebels. Activists believe those are also likely to number in the thousands.

Some 2,250 dead opposition fighters are unknown, and the Observatory said it believed most of those are fighters from abroad who joined the rebels in Syria, which has become a site for jihad, or “holy war”, to many Islamic militant groups.

Al Assad has long accused his opponents of being “terrorists” funded by foreign powers.

Disunity among the opposition in exile and the armed factions on the ground has hindered the struggle against Al Assad and contributed to Western reluctance to intervene.

Abdul Rahman called on foreign powers to take action to help ease Syria’s crisis as violence continues to rise.

“It seems that Bashar Al Assad is satisfied killing as much as needed to keep his throne. But it also seems that Syrian blood is of no value to Arab or Western powers who have been making promise after promise, while Syrians are led to slaughter,” he said.

Comments (2)

  1. Added 15:00 April 2, 2013

    People are dying and we are reading that people are dying. Shame on us that we can't do anything, but shame on those who can do and are not doing it for humanity. 1 authority: 62554 People 2 authority: 70000 People 3 authority: 120000 Prople. No one is bothered about people dying. 300 children is written on news paper on top and we are reading. It even do not bother us " BECAUSE THESE ARE NUMBERS "

    Shan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 13:05 April 2, 2013

    Human life is very precious & they are dying like vegetables, make some solution, stop killing & fighting my dear people of Syria

    ali, dubai, United Arab Emirates

Gulf News
A Syrian refugee at Boynuyogun Refugee Camp

Blog: Gulf News in Jordan

Behind the fence: The Syrian refugee crisis