UN: Over 60,000 dead in Syria conflict

UN Human Rights Commissioner Pillay describes as "shocking" number of casualties in Syria since uprising began in March 2011.

By REUTERS
January 2, 2013 16:49
1 minute read.
Smoke is seen rising over Damascus

Smoke is seen rising over Damascus 370 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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At least 60,000 people have died in Syria's conflict, UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay said on Wednesday, citing an "exhaustive" UN-commissioned study.

Over five months of analysis, researchers cross-referenced seven sources to compile a list of 59,648 individuals reported killed between March 15, 2011, and Nov. 30, 2012.

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"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," Pillay said.

"The number of casualties is much higher than we expected, and is truly shocking."

Meanwhile, at least 30 civilians were killed on Wednesday when Syrian warplanes bombed a petrol station in a rebellious suburb on the eastern edge of Damascus, two opposition campaigners on the scene said.

"I counted at least 30 bodies. They were either burnt or dismembered," said Abu Saeed, an activist who arrived at the area in the Muleiha suburb of Damascus an hour after the raid occurred at 1:00 p.m.

Another activist, Abu Fouad, said warplanes had bombarded the area as a consignment of fuel arrived and crowds packed the station.

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Video footage taken by activists, which could not be independently verified, showed a body of a man a helmet on a motorcycle amid flames that had engulfed the site, apparently hit while in a line of vehicles waiting for petrol. A man was also shown carrying a dismembered body.

Muleiha is one of a series of Sunni Muslim suburbs ringing the capital that have been at the forefront of the 21-month revolt against the rule of President Bashar Assad, who belongs to the Shi'ite-derived Alawite minority sect.

Government forces control the center of Damascus and have been pounding the suburbs from the air.

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