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Syria 2014 death toll tops 39,000: NGO

Pro-Assad forces killed 32,507 of the total death toll in Syria this year, which includes 24,430 civilians: human rights body
Building collapses after Syrian air forces' bomb attack in Ain Tarma, Damascus on 26 December (AA)

More than 39,000 people were killed since the beginning of 2014 during Syria’s ongoing civil war, a Syrian human rights body said Friday.

According to the Syrian Network of Human Rights, at least 39,021 people were killed during the conflict in the strife-ridden country this year.

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad’s government killed 32,507 of the total toll. Civilians made up 24,430 of the total figure, including 3,629 children and 3,714 women, while 8,077 of the 32,507 were opposition fighters.

As well as airstrikes used to target civilians, government forces also carried out attacks using snipers, cluster bombs, and poisonous gas, the report said.

The Assad government was also blamed for the execution of medical staff and local media staff members.

The report also included figures of human rights violations carried out by opposition groups fighting against the government. The opposition was blamed for the deaths of at least 1,257 people, out of which 1,183 were said to be civilians, including 291 children and 242 women.

With regards to the Islamic State (IS) militant group, the report said IS attacks in Raqqah, Hasakah, Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor claimed 3,557 lives, out of which 915 were civilians, including 132 children, 79 women, 11 activists and 2,642 opposition fighters.

The Nusra Front was also held responsible for the death of 124 civilians and 29 opposition fighters.

Furthermore, the report documented human rights violations carried out by Syrian Kurdish militant groups, particularly The Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) responsibility for the deaths of at least 110 people, including 102 civilians and eight opposition fighters.

The US-led international coalition airstrikes since December killed 40 civilians, including eight children and six women in Raqqah, Deir ez-Zor and Idlib provinces.

At the same time, 1,397 people died during various bombardments and illegal migration overseas, according to the report.

The figures provided by the Syrian non-governmental organization could not be independently verified.

Six killed, 40 injured in airstrikes in Syrian capital

Meanwhile on Friday, six people were killed and 40 others wounded in airstrikes carried out by forces loyal to president Assad, in Ayn Turma village in the Syrian capital of Damascus, according to a local activist.

"The regime’s air forces have bombed the village seized by the opposition," Abo Mohamed, a local activist from the village, told an Anadolu Agency correspondent.

Six people, including three children, were killed and 40 others were wounded, including a number of children as well.

"The airstrikes severely damaged buildings in the village; a building of six floors was completely destroyed," Abo Mohamed added.

Rescue teams carried out searches for victims that might be stuck under the building’s ruins.

Many villages seized by the opposition were targeted by airstrikes in the eastern Ghouta district of Damascus.

Meanwhile, government air strikes on Thursday killed at least 52 civilians, including seven children, in strongholds of the Islamic State (IS), a monitoring group said Friday in a new toll. Previously the toll had stood at 37 dead.

The raids struck Al-Bab and Qbasin Thursday in the northern province of Aleppo, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists on the ground.

The air force has killed thousands of people since it was first deployed in the war in July 2012.

Activists accuse the government of killing more civilians than militants in the raids.

The UN and international rights groups have repeatedly called on the government to refrain from using its air force against inhabited areas.

Syria's civil war began in March 2011 as a peaceful protest movement inspired by the Arab Spring and demanding Assad's ouster, but morphed into a brutal war after pro-Assad forces unleashed a massive crackdown against dissent.

The war has resulted in the deaths of an estimated 200,000 people, and displaced roughly half of the country's population, according to the UN. 

The majority of fatalities are reportedly of civilians, primarily killed by pro-Assad forces, although other groups are also implicated.