Sunday 11 December 2016

Syrian truce holds but country counts cost of 300,000 dead

Dean Gray in Istanbul

Published 14/09/2016 | 02:30

A Syrian boy rides a horse as Syrian children play in the street in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo as they celebrate the Eid al-Adha holiday on the first day of a fragile ceasefire. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
A Syrian boy rides a horse as Syrian children play in the street in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo as they celebrate the Eid al-Adha holiday on the first day of a fragile ceasefire. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

A Syrian activist group that tracks the country's civil war said more than 300,000 people have been killed so far in the conflict.

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The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said yesterday the dead include 59,000 government troops and more than 86,000 civilians.

The rest include rebels, foreign fighters, Hezbollah militants, defectors from the Syrian army and others. The Observatory says its records show that since the crisis began in March 2011, and until a truce went into effect on Monday evening, 301,781 people have been killed in Syria.

The group says the real death toll could be 70,000 higher since many insurgent groups do not announce their deaths and because there are other deaths that are not documented.

The latest death toll figure from the UN, which stopped tracking casualties in 2015, had said that 250,000 have been killed in Syria.

The cessation of hostilities in Syria that came into effect at sunset on Monday was holding well into its first day, reports suggest.

Residents in the embattled northern city of Aleppo reported calm.

UN officials said they were waiting to deliver aid to besieged areas but need better guarantees of peace.

The Syrian government says it will not allow aid, particularly "from the Turkish regime", to be delivered to Aleppo without prior co-ordination with it and the UN. Some 250,000 civilians are estimated to be trapped in rebel-held eastern Aleppo due to a siege by government forces.

Irish Independent

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