More than 2,000 killed in Syria since start of Ramadan: NGO

Updated 18 August 2013

More than 2,000 killed in Syria since start of Ramadan: NGO

BEIRUT: At least 2,014 people, most of them fighters on both sides, have been killed in Syria’s civil war since the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan began on July 10, a watchdog told AFP on Thursday.
More than 1,323 of the dead were pro- and anti-regime fighters, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The overall “toll has been particularly high in the past four days,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said, adding the
He said that both sides “concealed the real number of dead so the real toll is actually higher.”
The figure for the slain pro-regime fighters included 438 army troops, while 69 were members of the regime’s paramilitary National Defense Force, the Britain-based Observatory said.
On the rebel side, 545 were civilians who took up arms and joined the revolt, 30 were men who defected from the regime army, and 241 were foreign and unidentified fighters.
The dead also included 639 civilians including 105 children and 99 women, most of them killed in army shelling, said the Observatory.
An additional 52 unidentified corpses were accounted for in the Observatory’s toll.
The Observatory says more than 100,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict so far, which began after President Bashar Assad’s regime unleashed a brutal crackdown against a March 2011 popular revolt calling for change.
The United Nations estimates that some 5,000 people a month are dying in Syria’s civil war.


Thousands return to government-seized areas in northwest Syria: state media

Updated 44 min 4 sec ago

Thousands return to government-seized areas in northwest Syria: state media

  • The Syrian Observatory reported “around 3,000 people” going home from other areas under regime control
  • The Idlib region is one of the last holdouts of opposition forces

DAMASCUS: Thousands have returned to their hometowns in northwest Syria after military advances by government loyalist against militants and allied rebels, state media said Sunday.
“Thousands of citizens return to their villages and towns of the northern Hama countryside and the southern Idlib countryside,” state news agency SANA said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, reported “around 3,000 people” going home from other areas under regime control.
Since August 31, a cease-fire announced by regime backer Russia has largely held in northwestern Syria, though the Observatory has reported sporadic bombardment.
SANA said the returns came amid “government efforts to return the displaced to their towns and villages.”
The Idlib region of around three million people, many of them dispaced by fighting in other areas, is one of the last holdouts of opposition to forces backing Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Moscow announced the cease-fire late last month after four months of deadly violence that displaced 400,000 people, most of whom fled north within the jihadist-run bastion, according to the United Nations.
Regime forces had chipped away at the southern edges of the jihadist-run stronghold throughout August, retaking towns and villages in the north of Hama province and the south of Idlib province.
Syria’s civil war has killed more than 370,000 people since it started in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests.
Assad’s regime now controls more than 60 percent of the country after notching up a series of victories against rebels and jihadists with key Russian backing since 2015.
But a large chunk of Idlib, fully administered by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate since January, as well as a Kurdish-held swathe of the oil-rich northeast, remain beyond its reach.