UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] announced [press release] Thursday that the death toll in the Syrian conflict has now reached at least 93,000. According to the UN's data specialists, this estimate represents only recorded deaths where the name, location and date of death were reported. For those casualties lacking one or more identifying values, the information was excluded from the data set. The casualties were sourced from eight different reports, and potential duplicates were eliminated. Thus, the actual number of deaths is far greater than 93,000, but only that many have been recorded. Additionally, most of the casualties are not expected to be members of any armed organization. Pillay said:
This extremely high rate of killings, month after month, reflects the drastically deteriorating pattern of the conflict over the past year. ... As clearly indicated in the latest report by the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, civilians are bearing the brunt of widespread, violent and often indiscriminate attacks which are devastating whole swathes of major towns and cities, as well as outlying villages.As time and the conflict continues, the UN will do its best to improve its records.
Last Tuesday a panel of UN human rights experts issued their latest report [text, PDF] on the conflict, detailing escalating war crimes [JURIST report] committed by both sides. Both France and the US have claimed to have found evidence regarding the limited use of Sarin [CNN report], a toxic gas, but it is not clear which side was using it in the conflict. The Syrian Civil War [JURIST news archive] has been ongoing since 2011 when opposition groups first began protesting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [official website]. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] released a statement [text] two weeks ago on the increase in condemning the most recent violence [JURIST report] in Syria, and expressing concern over how it has been affecting the civilian population. Two weeks ago Navi Pillay condemned the recent violence in Qusayr [map] and criticized [JURIST reports] the broader human rights violations taking place in Syria. In May Pillay called for international action [JURIST report] after a series of massacres were carried out against Syrian civilians. Last month Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] condemned the Syrian Air Force for deliberately targeting civilians [JURIST report] in air strikes in rebel-controlled areas. In March HRW accused Syria's military [JURIST report] of using widely-banned cluster bombs against civilians.