100,000 civilians killed by Assad forces since 2011: report

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SNHR says 88% of the 133,586 people killed by pro-Assad forces in Syria were civilians, 23% of victims were women and children

A Syrian man evacuates a child found in the rubble of a building reportedly hit by an explosives-filled barrel dropped by a government forces helicopter on March 18, 2014 in Aleppo (AFP)
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Thursday 12 February 2015 16:00 UTC
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More than 133,000 people were killed, the majority of which civilians, in attacks by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against areas held by opposition forces since the beginning of the conflict in March 2011, according to a London-based rights group.

The Syrian government forces killed no less than 133,586 people; including 109,347 civilian (88% of the total) among them 15,149 children and 13,695 women. In addition, 4892 person were killed under torture, said the latest report of the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR). 

"The majority of those killed (in the conflict) were civilians and most of them were killed as a result of indiscriminate regime shelling," Fadel Abdulghani, director of SNHR, told MEE.

"The figures show that the regime's barrel bombs and scud missiles have been the main cause of civilian deaths in the Syrian conflict," he added.

In SNHR's report, one child was killed every two hours, one woman was killed every three hours and around 100 people were killed every day in Syria by pro-Assad forces.

Abdulghani said "23% of the total number of those killed were children and women."

The report also addressed those who were killed by anti-Assad rebels in areas not controlled by the government.

SNHR says it has documented that al-Qaeda affiliated groups have no less than 1,607 people including 588 civilians, among them 67 children and 53 women.

It adds that other armed groups have killed 438 civilians, among them 29 children and 36 women.

Abdulghani said SNHR does not have the accurate means to verify the death in areas still under the control of the government.

The UN has stopped updating its death toll for the country due to difficulties in verifying casualties. At least 100,000 deaths were recorded in the last count in July 2013.

When asked about the UN figures, Abdulghani said he expects those figures to be updated as SNHR is one of the primary sources of the international body.

Syria has been gripped by almost constant fighting since the army and other pro-Assad forces launched a violent crackdown in response to anti-government protests in March 2011, triggering a conflict, which has spiralled into civil war.

The number of Syrian refugees in Turkey, approximately 900,000 as of June, will rise to 1.5 million by the end of the 2014, according to the International Strategic Research Organization and the Brookings Institute.

The Syrian government maintains that it is fighting against "terrorist" and denies targeting civilians.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch said Thursday that women have been the victims of arbitrary arrest, torture, harassment and discrimination at the hands of government and rebel forces in Syria's three-year conflict.

The New York-based global rights watchdog, in a report, urged the international community to "hold those responsible for such abuses to account".

"Women have not been spared any aspect of the brutality of the Syrian conflict, but they are not merely passive victims," said Liesl Gerntholtz, women's rights director at HRW.

The group: "Women have been arbitrarily arrested and detained, physically abused, harassed and tortured during Syria's conflict by government forces, pro-government militias and armed groups opposed to the government."

The report is based on interviews with refugee women and service providers in Turkey, where hundreds of thousands of Syrians have sought shelter from the war ravaging their country.

Rights groups have regularly documented systematic torture and ill-treatment of men and women detainees in Syria's notorious prisons and detention centres.

Anti-regime groups have also committed abuses against women.