Syria death toll tops 380,000 in almost 9-year war, says monitor

A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on January 2, 2020 shows Syrian government forces firing at positions of rebel fighters in the countryside of Maaret al-Numan. (AFP)
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Updated 05 January 2020

Syria death toll tops 380,000 in almost 9-year war, says monitor

  • The total death toll does not include some 88,000 people who died of torture in regime jails, or thousands missing after being abducted by all sides in the conflict

BEIRUT: Almost nine years of civil war in Syria has left more than 380,000 people dead including over 115,000 civilians, a war monitor said in a new toll on Saturday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a network of sources across the country, said they included around 22,000 children and more than 13,000 women.
The conflict flared after unprecedented anti-government protests in the southern city of Daraa on March 15, 2011.
Demonstrations spread across Syria and were brutally suppressed by the regime, triggering a multi-front armed conflict that has drawn in rebels and foreign powers.
The conflict has displaced or sent into exile around 13 million Syrians, causing billions of dollars’ worth of destruction.
The Britain-based Observatory’s last casualty toll on the Syrian conflict, issued in March last year, stood at more than 370,000 dead.
The latest toll included more than 128,000 Syrian and non-Syrian pro-regime fighters.
More than half of those were Syrian soldiers, while 1,682 were from the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah whose members have been fighting in Syria since 2013.
The war has also taken the lives of more than 69,000 opposition rebels and Kurdish-led fighters.
It has killed more than 67,000 militants, mainly from Daesh and Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), a group dominated by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.

NUMBER

13m - Syrians have been displaced or sent into exile due to the conflict that has caused billions of dollars’ worth of destruction.

The total death toll does not include some 88,000 people who died of torture in regime jails, or thousands missing after being abducted by all sides in the conflict.
With the support of powerful allies Russia and Iran, Syria’s Bashar Assad has inched his way back in recent years to controlling almost two-thirds of the country.
That comes after a string of victories against fighters and rebels since 2015, but also his forces being deployed to parts of the northeast of the country under a deal to halt a Turkish cross-border operation last year.
Several parts of the country, however, remain beyond the reach of the Damascus government.
They include the last major opposition bastion of Idlib, a region of some 3 million people that is ruled by the rebels of HTS.
An escalation in violence there in recent weeks has caused 284,000 people to flee their homes, according to the UN.
In the northeast, Turkish troops and their proxies control a strip of land along the border after seizing it from Kurdish fighters earlier this year.
Kurdish-led forces control the Far East Syria, where US troops have been deployed near major oil fields.
Syria’s conflict is estimated to have set its economy back three decades, destroying infrastructure and paralyzing the production of electricity and oil.


Protesters pack Tel Aviv rally against coronavirus cash crisis

Updated 12 July 2020

Protesters pack Tel Aviv rally against coronavirus cash crisis

  • Event was organized by self-employed, small business and performing artists’ groups angry at coronavirus curbs which have taken away their livelihoods

TEL AVIV: Thousands of Israelis streamed into Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square to protest Saturday against the government’s handling of economic hardship caused by coronavirus curbs.
About 300 officers were deployed in the square, a traditional protest site, to ensure public order and monitor social distancing regulations, police said.
Many participants wore facemasks but most appeared to be less than the statutory two meters (yards) apart.
Some held banners reading in Hebrew: “Let us breathe” — an echo of worldwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, during a US police arrest.
The event was organized by self-employed, small business and performing artists’ groups angry at coronavirus curbs which have taken away their livelihoods.
Student unions also took part over the large numbers of young people made jobless by closures.
Israel imposed a broad lockdown from the middle of March, allowing only staff deemed essential to go to work and banning public assembly.
Places of entertainment were closed, hitting the leisure industry hard.
Facing public and economic pressure, the government eased restrictions in late May.
But infections have mounted and rules tightened again, including the closure of event venues, clubs, bars, gyms and public pools.
While salaried workers sent on furlough received unemployment benefits, the self-employed said most had been waiting months for promised government aid.
“There is a very grave crisis of confidence between us and the government,” Shai Berman, one of the protest organizers told Israeli public radio ahead of the rally.
“We are part of a very large public which is feeling growing distress and wants to demonstrate and simply does not believe the promises,” he added.
Berman was among activists invited Friday to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and finance ministry officials in a last-minute government effort to stave off the protest.
“He tried, very politely,” Berman said, adding that an aid package presented at the meeting was a start, but flawed.
Netanyahu promised swift implementation.
“We will meet our commitments including hastening the immediate payments that we want to give you,” his office quoted him as telling the activists.
On Friday, the health ministry announced the highest number of coronavirus infections over a 24-hour period, with nearly 1,500 new cases confirmed.
The country of roughly nine million has now registered more than 37,000 cases, including over 350 deaths.