Over 340,000 killed in Syria war, says monitor

Refugees in the Yarmouk camp in Syria wait for food aid in this file photo. (Photo courtesy: UNRWA)
Updated 25 November 2017
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Over 340,000 killed in Syria war, says monitor

BEIRUT: Syria’s grinding war has killed over 340,000 people since it broke out in 2011, including more than 100,000 civilians, a monitor said on Friday.
The death toll increased as key international powers step up diplomatic efforts to bring an end to the brutal conflict, and just days before a fresh round of peace talks in Geneva.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP it has documented 343,511 deaths in Syria between the eruption of an anti-government uprising in mid-March 2011 and the start of this month.
Among them are 102,618 civilians, including nearly 19,000 children and 12,000 women.
More than 119,000 pro-government forces have been killed, including 62,000 Syrian troops, tens of thousands of loyalist militiamen, and 1,556 fighters from Lebanese movement Hezbollah, according to the estimate.
Another 59,000 fighters from opposition groups, extremist factions, and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces were also killed.
Militant groups suffered the biggest blow, with more than 62,200 deaths representing an increase of 4,000 since the Observatory published its last toll in July.
Overall during the past four months, nearly 12,000 people died across the country — including 3,001 civilians.
A “de-escalation deal” agreed in May of this year has brought relative calm to some of Syria’s bloodiest battlefields, but violence has ratched up elsewhere.
Russian-backed Syrian troops and US-backed militia waged parallel but separate offensives against the Daesh group, including in two major cities: Raqqa and Deir Ezzor.
“Although the de-escalation agreements brought a drop in civilian deaths, the fierce offensives against IS (Daesh) in other areas made it so that civilians were dying at the same pace,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
The Observatory relies on a network of sources across Syria that includes armed groups, government sources, medics, and activists.
The conflict broke out with peaceful protests against strongman President Bashar Assad, but his crackdown paved the way for a fully-fledged war.
A multitude of regional and foreign powers have since intervened in the maelstrom, which has destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure and displaced millions.


Saudi Arabia pledges $100m to help ‘stabilize’ Syria’s northeast

Updated 15 min 25 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia pledges $100m to help ‘stabilize’ Syria’s northeast

  • United States, which leads the anti-Daesh coalition, expressed its  thanks for the funds
  • The money will help ensure the militants cannot re-emerge as a threat

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has contributed $100 million to help reconstruct areas of north-eastern Syria formerly held by Daesh.

The Kingdom said the contribution would go toward a campaign by the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS to “stabilize” the former Daesh bastion and help ensure the militants cannot re-emerge as a threat.

The United States, which leads the coalition, expressed its  thanks and appreciation to Riyadh.

“This significant contribution is critical to stabilization and early recovery efforts,” a State Department spokeswoman said. “Saudi Arabia has been a leading partner in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS from the outset.”

The funds are the biggest single financial  contribution yet for reconstruction efforts in areas formerly controlled by the extremists.

The money would “save lives, help facilitate the return of displaced Syrians, and help ensure that Daesh cannot reemerge to threaten Syria, its neighbors, or plan attacks against the international community,” the Saudi Embassy in Washington said.

The contribution aims to support “stabilization projects” and “will play a critical role in the coalition’s efforts to revitalize communities, such as Raqqa, that have been devastated by Daesh terrorists.”

The statement said the money showed Saudi Arabia’s continued commitment to serve as a stabilizing force in the region.

The funds, part of a pledge made by Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir last month, will go towards projects to restore essential services in the areas of health, agriculture, electricity, water, education, and transportation.

The United Nations has said reconstruction in Syria would cost at least $250 billion. The Daesh takeover of large areas of territory in Syria and Iraq in 2014 led to huge levels of destruction. 

A conference on the reconstruction of Iraq held in Kuwait in February raised $30 billion in funding commitment. Saudi Arabia said at the event it would contribute $1.5 billion in financial and reconstruction support. 

Saudi Arabia also hosted the founding conference for the coalition in Jeddah in September 2014, and soon after flew the first air missions to bomb Daesh targets in Syria.