Twice as many people have allegedly been killed in Syria - since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began six months ago - than the current UN estimate, and three times the regime's official tally, according to new statistics from human rights researchers and opposition activists in Syria.
The report by Avaaz, the global campaign group and its partner Insan, a leading Syrian human rights organization, said over 5,300 people have been killed.
A team of 60 human rights researchers verified the names of 3,004 people killed in over 127 locations across Syria from 18 March to 9 September, while an additional 2,356 people were registered as dead, but have not yet been verified, the report said.
Each of the 3,004 recorded killings was triple-sourced in line with international protocols for recording casualties of conflict, by at least one family member and two other contacts, such as friends, community leaders, clerks or imams of mosques.
The other 2,356 names have been recorded as killed but Insan researchers have not yet been able to triple-source each case, as the deaths were either reported in the Syrian state media or the bodies were taken away following injury or death and later not acknowledged by the authorities.
The total figure of 5,360 people killed is roughly double the current figure of 2,600 given on 12 September by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, while Amnesty International has documented the deaths of 2,121 people, not including members of the security forces.
The government acknowledges only 1,400 casualties.
"We knew the official numbers were way below," Avaaz's Henrietta McMicking said. "The 3,004 names have been verified, while we know that the 2,356 additional people are definitely dead, but we have not been able to verify their names under our stringent criteria."
The as yet unverified figure includes 308 names of people reported killed in Syrian state-run media, 674 names of military personnel the authorities have reported killed, and 1,374 names of people who have been reported dead, but whose bodies have never been found.
Recording civilian deaths
The new statistics on Syria were released as 37 humanitarian and human rights groups launched the Charter for the Recognition of Every Casualty of Armed Violence on 15 September, which demands casualties of armed conflict are promptly recorded, correctly identified and publicly acknowledged by states.
Though the recording of casualties is binding on states and parties to a conflict under international humanitarian and human rights law, in practice few, if any, do so.
"It remains incomprehensible that even a century after international humanitarian law was born, states fail to register many of those whose suffering prompted the creation of international humanitarian law," said Sandra Orlovic, deputy executive director of the Humanitarian Law Centre in Serbia, speaking at the launch of the Charter in London on 15 September.
Hamit Dardagan, co-founder of Iraq Body Count and co-director of the Every Casualty programme at Oxford Research Group, said that accurately recording casualties could play a role in post-conflict reconciliation.
"It is important that the truth is recognized by all sides. We do not just record the deaths, but also the circumstances," said Dardagan. "This often points to the perpetrator."
"Shoot to kill"
The breakdown of the statistics in the new report points to a targeted campaign by security forces of shooting to kill protesters. Of the verified civilian deaths, 60 percent were recorded as shot in the upper part of their bodies; the chest, neck or head.
This correlates with accounts given to Human Rights Watch (HRW) from five defected soldiers and members of security agencies that they had received explicit orders to shoot at protesters.
In May, Amnesty International (AI) released a selection of footage of Syrian civilians shot in the head, which the organization said pointed to a "shoot to kill" policy being used by the security forces to quell anti-Assad protests.
Torture of children
According to Avaaz,-8 children were killed, the majority by gunshots to the upper body. The report found 16 of the children had suffered severe torture in detention before their deaths.
"It is difficult to second guess the motivation for torturing and killing children in custody," said Neil Sammonds, Amnesty International's Syria researcher. "It may be that the Syrian security forces hope to terrify people off the streets with the threat of what could happen to their children."
Amnesty has documented 10 cases of children dying in custody since the beginning of the uprising, some of them mutilated either before or after death.
Of the 2,404 male civilians verified as killed since mid-March, the Avaaz report states 159 were tortured to death. It also documents the deaths of 278 soldiers, all of them male conscripts from regular divisions of the Syrian army.
Over 100 of the soldiers died from gunshots to the upper body, three were strangled to death, and 94 of the bodies showed marks of severe torture, the report said.
- Provided by Integrated Regional Information Networks.
- Obama's Dilemma: Foreign Policy and Electoral Realities
- The Theology of Armageddon
- Why Al-Qaeda Won
- Anti-Globalization Movement Endures
- WikiLeaks: The Game Changer
- Israel's Truths and Omissions on Vote for Palestine State
- How to Save Israel and the United States from Themselves
- Obama's Middle East Dilemma
- Palestinian Leader: Obama Wrong to Take Israel's Side
- Israeli Settlers: Never Shy About Taking Law Into Own Hands
- Israel: The Cost of Arrogance
- For Israeli Tycoons: New Strings Attached
- Israeli Innovation on Display
- Saudis to United States: You're Sleeping on the Couch Tonight
- Over 5,000 Killings In Syria Since March
- Iran Arrests Six for Supplying Information to BBC
- Iran: Naval-Gazing More Political Than Military
- Oman Assisting United States to Release Hikers in Iran
- Al-Jazeera: You're Not Alone
- Controversial Comeback For Egypt's Emergency Laws
- Turkish PM Erdogan Encounters Two Egypts on Historic Visit
- Turkey: Violence Casts Pall Over Constitutional Reform Efforts
- Turkey: How Much of a Safe Haven for Political Dissidents?
- Turkey's Neo-Ottoman Foreign Policy
- Libya to Have a New Government within 7-10 Days
- Libya Could Break Up Like Somalia
- Libya and the Bully Problem
- The Difficult Bit: The Arab Spring After Libya
- Middle East and North Africa Face Shortfall of Affordable Homes
- Lean Season Awaits Migrants Escaping Libya
- Kenya: NCDs and HIV Fight for Limited Resources
- Kenya: Thousands of Children to be Immunized Amid Polio Outbreak
- Horn of Africa Migrants Beaten, Deported, Imprisoned
- Rights Groups Report on Somalia Downplayed
- Congo Refugees Unwilling to Return Home
- The New Scramble for Africa
- Japan's PM Must Quell China's Fears About His Nationalism
- Fukushima Evacuees Slam Compensation Requirements
- Nuclear Data Feared Stolen in Hacks of Japanese Sites
- Second Lovers' Shooting Hits Largest Philippine Mall Operator
- Aquino Off to U.S. for Open Government Partnership Launch
- Aquino Orders Imprisonment of Former Philippine Military Comptroller
- Timeline of Australian Asylum-Seeker Debate
- Australia's Military Capabilities Up in the Air
- Islamist Rampage Blamed in Bangladesh Riots
- United States to Help Bangladesh Combat Bird Flu
- Indian Earthquake Prompts 'Wake-Up Call'
- Germany and the US: Toward a 'Special Relationship'?
- Britain - Russia: Beyond Politics
- Central Banks Lend Dollars to European Banks
- Eurozone Pushes Greece to Speed Up Economic Reforms
- S&P Downgrades Italy's Debt Rating
- Libyan Relationship With Italy Expected to Survive Regime Change
- UK Official Favors More Worker Say on Boardroom Pay
- London Court Charges UBS Trader With Fraud
- Denmark Elects First Woman Prime Minister
- Serbia's Markovic Fights Corruption and Public Skepticism
- Kosovo to Boost Privatizations
- Italy and Greece Ask Albania to Unify on European Agenda
- State Department Answers For Congressman's Criticism Of Mexico Policy
- Central American Migrants in Mexico
- Mexico Shock: Gunmen Dispose of 35 Bodies in Two Trucks
- Chevron Charged $18 Billion in Reparations to Ecuador
- Evolution of a Pakistani Militant Network
- Afghanistan: Rabbani Assassination May Peel Tajiks Away from Kabul
- Rabbani Assassination: An Assertive Taliban and America's Dilemmas
- Light at End of Afghan Tunnel Recedes
- Karachi's Long Summer of Violence
- Germany: The Beleaguered European Island
- Greece Unveils New Measures to Prevent Default
- Merkel: Europe Must Avoid 'Uncontrolled' Greek Default
- Kosovo an Obstacle to Serbia's EU Bid
- The Eurozone Debt Crisis: Why the IMF Proposal is Flawed
- Italy: An Economy in Denial
- Should We Break Up Britain's Banks?
- Innovation and Foreign Ownership: New Evidence from Spain
- The Crisis of Europe and European Nationalism
- The South China Sea Conundrum
- Is China Heading for Collapse
- China Forced to Temper Mercenary Approach to International Trade
- China Looking To Middle East For More Oil
- China's Wealthiest Unfazed by Global Turmoil
- Latin America's Blind Love With China May Be Over
- Drug War Madness
- Brazil's Really Big Problem
- Ex-Border Security Chief Calls Fence a Dumb Idea
- Argentina: Funding for a Cause
- Syrian Rights Activist Said Attacked in Prison
- Qatar Moves to Reach Food Sustainability
- Israel - Turkey Tensions Here to Stay Diplomat Warns
- Iran Vows Retaliation in Case of Any 'Preventive Attack'
- Iran Has Much to Lose if Syria's Assad Falls
- Saudis: 'We're Killing Too Many Civilians in Yemen? Then Give Us Drones'
- 100 Hamas Members Arrested Just Before UN Vote for Palestinian Statehood
- West Bank Economy Slows as Aid Drops and Statehood Jitters Grow
- For Hamas Silence on Palestinian Statehood Is Golden
- Gaddafi Insists He is Still in Libya
- The Iraq War Isn't Over
- Insurgents Take Over Key Somali Border Town
- Government Soldier Kills 10 at Mogadishu Refugee Camp
- Dire Pollution in Ogoniland But Little Action So Far
- Afghanistan: Patchy Progress on Education
- Kashmir Police Question 3 in Delhi Bombing
- Indian Democracy Gets a Wake-Up Call
- India: No Counter-Revolution Please
- Australia - Outsourcing Asia's Refugees: A Fair Trade?
- BC Estimates $2.3 Billion Cost To Revert To Provincial Sales Tax
- 9/11 Anniversary Subdued in Many Areas
- Al-Qaeda Lost the Battle Long Ago
- 10 Years of 9/11 Wars is Enough
- Why Al Qaeda is Unlikely to Execute Another 9/11
- One Thing Steve Jobs Couldn't Change: Our Mortality
- What I Did (and Didn't Do) on My Summer Vacation
- 9/11 in Retrospect: Bush's Grand Strategy, Reconsidered
- War Costs Greater Than Acknowledged and Continuing to Climb
- China, the United States, and Global Order
- Palestine Goes to the UN
- Europe's Palestine Problem
- Turkey-Israel: What's next?
- Turkey's Akyol, An Apostle Of The Third Way
- Will Oil Drown the Arab Spring?
- Al Qaeda's Challenge
- Libya's 'Precarious' Transition Ahead
- 7 Challenges for Post-Qadhafi Libya
- To the Shores of Tripoli
- Victory in Tripoli. Bleakness Elsewhere
- Egypt: The Unbreakable Muslim Brotherhood
- Commanding Democracy in Egypt
- Bahrain Stumbles on Road to Recovery
- Syria's Al-Assad Gets the Picture as Satire Comes to YouTube
- Kurds Unite Amid Onslaught
- Former Israeli Army Chief Says Talk to Hamas
- For Russia New Middle East will be Tough Arms Market
- Arab Spring Still Fails to Deliver on Human Rights
- The Hype and the Reality of China's Economic Rise
- A New Kind of Korea: Building Trust Between Seoul and Pyongyang
- Kim Jong Il's Visit to Russia: Just More Mixed Messages?
- North Korea Accuses South Korea of Plotting to Destroy Its Socialist System
- South Korea Suicide Rate Doubles in 10 Years
- Tokyo's Transformation: How Japan Is Changing
- Credit Suisse Downgrades Forecast for Philippine Economic Growth
- Mexico and the United States: Surgical Strikes in the Drug Wars
- Despite Victory, Argentine Leader Faces Hard Choices
- Chilean 'Model' Is Shaken, but Very Much Alive
- Student Protests May Lead to a Better Chile
- Winds of Change: Uruguay's Sustainable Energy Plans
- Leaving Afghanistan to the Afghans
- Balkan Countries Work To Round Up Privately Held Weapons
- Former Iceland Prime Minister On Trial Over Banking Sector Collapse
- Germany's Rail Set to Run on 100 Percent Renewable Energy
- Divvying up South Sudan
- Somalia Seeks More Troops Against Al-Shabaab
- 20,000 Flee Blue Nile Clashes
- Climate of Fear Ahead of Gambia Presidential Elections
- Hungry Kenyan Families Sending Children Out to Beg
- Somali Border Town Feels the Refugee Pressure
- Cholera Soars in Lake Chad Basin Countries
- Somali Pirates Grow More Daring
- Two Million Hit By Floods in Pakistan's Sindh Province
- Global Health: Meaty Concerns
- Global Health: A Seminal Moment?
- Human Trafficking: The Wound That Shames Our Present
- How New Atrocity-Prevention Steps Can Work
- 9/11 Anniversary: Rethink Needed
- 9/11 Anniversary: From Empire to Decline
- 9/11 Anniversary: Scanning Bodies, Stripping Rights?
- Assassination as Foreign Policy
- Eurozone Manufacturing Slowing
- European Union Spending Cuts and Tax Hikes Hurt GDP Growth
- Who's Worse Off: Europe or the United States?
- Germany: German Tiger or European Growth Engine?
- Greece Forecasts Economic Contraction to be Worse than Expected
- Collateral Deals will Have Negative Impact on Greece
- Spain Announces Temporary Tax Cut to Stimulate New House Sales
- Eastern Mediterranean Olive Oil Producers Seek Markets in Far East
- High North: The New Frontier
- The Politics of the London Riots
- Young Westerners -- Deprived or Decadent?
- Explanations and Excuses for English Riots
- Many British Households See Steeper Rise in Debt
- Young Turks Returning Home to Chase Economic Dreams
- The Pain in Spain
- Multiculturalism and Dutch Political Culture
- Macedonia Eyes Its Future in Antiquity
- The Saudi Counterrevolution
- Libya Threatens to Become Terrorist Arms Depot
- Libya: Protection Challenge For The Opposition
- Libya After Gadhafi: Transitioning from Rebellion to Rule
- Why Are Some Progressives Gloating over Libya?
- Egypt's Reluctant Rulers
- Fear and Blogging in the Arab world
- Middle East: The Future of Women
- Middle East: Bread and Dignity
- Middle East: Palestine Towards Statehood
- Israeli - Arab Crisis Approaching
- The Upcoming Palestinian Uprising
- Israeli Settlements Keep Middle East Unsettled
- Syrian Opposition Tries to Unite
- Assad Rejects International Calls to Resign
- Obama Calls for Syrian President Assad to Step Down
- Cranking up Pressure on Syria
- Violence in Iraq Raises Questions About American Withdrawal
- Egypt's Brotherhood Declares War on the Bikini
- Labor Pains in Saudi Arabia as Hiring Deadline Nears
- Gulf Markets Worry About Oil Outlook
- Jordanian King Promises Reform to Skeptical Public
- China and the United States' Debt
- China's New Aircraft Carrier Bolsters Its Regional Reach
- China Outpaces United States in PC Market
- Moody's Downgrades Japan Credit Rating Over Deficit Concerns
- Kim Jong-Il Pushes China for New Nuclear Talks
- North Korea's Rare Pledge to Abandon Nuclear Activities
- Indonesia: Pluralism vs Vigilantism
- South Sudan: Labor Pains
- Somalia: Pro-government Rally Held in Mogadishu
- Kenya: 'Perfect Storm' Brewing Among Urban Poor
- Latin America's Security Dilemma
- A President-for-Life in Argentina? Not Likely
- There's Hope for Mexico and Central America
- Chile: The Fight to Make Education a Guaranteed Right
- Death of Layton Poses Challenge for NDP Interim Leader
Available at Amazon.com:
Copyright 2011, AHN - All Rights Reserved