Syria Death Toll Tops 115,000
At least 115,206 people have been killed in Syria's devastating 30-month conflict, most of them fighters from both sides, a monitoring group said on Tuesday.
“The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has documented the deaths of 115,206 people from the start of Syria's revolution on March 18, 2011 to September 30, 2013,” the Britain-based group said, according to the AFP news agency.
Among the dead were 47,206 fighters loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad's regime and 23,707 rebels seeking his ouster.
Of those, 28,804 were regular troops, another 18,228 were pro-regime militiamen and “informants” and 174 were members of the Hezbollah terror organization, the group said.
On the rebel side, 17,071 were civilians who picked up weapons to join the insurgency, 2,176 were army defectors and 4,460 were either foreign or unidentified fighters killed in battle.
Another 41,533 civilians lost their lives in the war, among them 6,087 children and 4,079 women, said the Observatory.
The group also said it has documented the deaths of an additional 2,760 unidentified victims, who it was not possible to identify as either civilians, rebels or regime forces.
The figures exclude people being held by the regime, who activists have said number in the tens of thousands.
“It also excludes more than 3,000 regime troops held prisoner by the opposition factions,” added the Observatory, which relies on a network of activists, lawyers and medics on the ground for its information.
The report said evidence from the scene of the bombing, which took place on Sunday, points towards the use of fuel-air explosive bombs, which inflict massive damage over a wide area, and are "therefore prone to indiscriminate impact in populated areas."
Up to 16 people were killed in the attack, most of whom were schoolchildren, with scores more wounded. Videos of the aftermath showed victims torn to shreds, their bodies hurled aside by the massive force of the blast.
The use of such powerful "conventional" weapons by the Syrian Air Force shows how regime forces are able to continue to inflict massive casualties on the civilians in rebel-held areas, even without the use of chemical weapons.
Meanwhile, a team of 20 inspectors from the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrived in Damascus on Tuesday to implement a UN resolution that ordered the elimination of Syria's chemical arms.
The arsenal is believed to include more than 1,000 tons of sarin, mustard gas and other banned chemicals stored at an estimated 45 sites across the war-torn country.
A target date has been set to finish the operation in mid 2014 and will be one of the largest and most dangerous of its kind.