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'Speculating on Human Lives': Actual Civilian Death Toll in Syrian War

© REUTERS / Abdalrhman IsmailA man rides a bicycle past burning tyres, which activists said are used to create smoke cover from warplanes, in Aleppo, Syria August 1, 2016
A man rides a bicycle past burning tyres, which activists said are used to create smoke cover from warplanes, in Aleppo, Syria August 1, 2016 - Sputnik International
Day after day Western media dispenses claims, accusing the Syrian government and President Bashar Assad of crimes against the Syrian people. Sometimes even prominent international organizations get involved.

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In July 2013, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the death toll in the Syrian conflict topped 100,000. In October 2014, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said the death toll was 200,000. By October 2015, according to the UN, the war claimed over 240,000 lives.

In September 2016, official UN estimates revealed that 300,000 people were killed in the Syrian conflict. In addition, the UN said that nearly 50 percent of the population was displaced.

According to the Dubai-based TV channel Al-Arabiya, in October 2015, the death toll surpassed 250,000. The same data was earlier provided by The New York Times.

After Russia launched its aerial campaign in Syria, the Syrian death toll in Western media continued to grow. Parties involved in the conflict adjust data to their own interests. In addition, the media often reports unconfirmed data from the opposition-established Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

But do all those numbers reflect the situation on the ground?

The Institute for Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences conducted its own research, using data from the Syrian Central Bureau of Statistics.

The report was presented at a press conference in Moscow on October 28.

In 2011, the Syrian population was 22.5 million people. According to Syrian statistics, since that time the population has decreased to 17.87 million.
The research revealed that a total of 105,000 Syrians have been killed in the war, including 45,000 soldiers and militia fighters, 24,000 militants and 36,000 civilians.

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The majority of civilians were killed by jihadists and the so-called moderate opposition forces, according to the report.

In addition, nearly 18,000 foreign terrorists recruited from over 80 countries have been killed in the war.

Earlier, Yaakov Kedmi, head of the Israeli intelligence agency Nativ, unveiled nearly the same data, including about 40,000 civilians killed.

Meanwhile, US estimates usually range between several hundreds of thousands to a million, which seems quite unrealistic.

"But this is not only about the numbers. People’s deaths should not be used in political speculations and as an instrument in information wars," journalist Alexander Khrolenko wrote in a piece for RIA Novosti.

According to the author, the United States speculates on human lives while Washington itself has been involved in a series of "regime changes" in the Middle East and North Africa.

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Recently, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recalled that Saddam Hussein did not invite American troops to Iraq in 2003.

The US-led coalition does not want to make public the death toll among civilians from its airstrikes against Daesh in Iraq. Nevertheless, the coalition has been accused of civilian casualties.

Some 460,000 Iraqis were killed during the war in 2003-2011. The upcoming liberation of Mosul is also at risk of turning into a bloodbath.

"The US made a lot of mistakes in Syria. The war in Syria would not be as bloody if Washington did not supply weapons to Syrian rebels," Palestinian political analyst Azzam Abu Saud wrote in an article for the Norwegian newspaper Dagsavisen.

According to a document distributed by Russia's permanent mission to the UN's Geneva office, the US-led coalition has attacked  civilian infrastructure since October 2015, leading to mass casualties.

The document enumerates airstrikes by the US-led coalition on hospitals and other sites across Syria. For example, on July 19, 2015, coalition aircraft launched an airstrike in the province of Aleppo, killing 125 civilians and destroying several residential buildings.

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