Monday, April 1, 2013

March 2013 was bloodiest month in Syria's civil war, so far, with more than 6,000 killed

BEIRUT (Reuters) - March was the bloodiest month yet in Syria's two-year conflict, with more than 6,000 people killed, a third of them civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday.

The group opposes President Bashar al-Assad but has monitored human rights violations on both sides of a revolt that began as peaceful protests but is now a brutal war between forces loyal to Assad and an array of rebel militias.

The Britain-based Observatory, which has a network of sources across Syria, has documented 62,554 dead in the conflict, said Rami Abdelrahman, the head of the group.

"But we know the number is much, much higher," he told Reuters by telephone. "We estimate it is actually around 120,000 people. Many death tolls are more difficult to document so we are not officially including them yet."

As in previous months, around a third of those killed in March were civilians, the Observatory said. Almost 300 children died, taking the number killed in the conflict to around 4,390.

The United Nations says more than 70,000 people have died in Syria. Abdelrahman said both sides have found ways to minimize their dead to keep morale high among their followers.