More than 70 000 killed in Syria in 2014 – monitor

2015-01-01 15:01

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Beirut – The conflict in Syria killed 76 021 people in 2014, just under half of them civilians, a group monitoring the war has said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 33 278 civilians were killed last year in the conflict, which started with protests in 2011 and has spiralled into a civil war.

The United Nations in August estimated the total number of people killed since the start of the conflict at 191 000 but activists say the actual figure is likely much higher.

Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited a district on the outskirts of Damascus and thanked soldiers fighting “in the face of terrorism”, his office said on Twitter late yesterday, posting pictures of the rare trip.

Syrian television today aired footage of the New Year visit, accompanying it with patriotic music.

It showed Assad talking to troops, embracing them and sharing a meal outside, in what was presented as a morale boost for soldiers on the frontline of the country’s civil war.

Assad, who is commander in chief, is not frequently pictured in public, though he has visited troops in the past, according to state media.

The presidential website said the latest visit was to Jobar, northeast of Damascus.

“If there was an area of joy which remained in Syria, it is thanks to the victories that you achieved in the face of terrorism,” Assad told troops, according to the Twitter account.

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