Monday, September 12, 2011

At least 2,660 killed in Syria since start of protests

At least 2,600 people have been killed in Syria since protests erupted in mid-March, the United Nations said on Monday, as the regime itself admitted around half that number had died.

Navi Pillay, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that 2,600 people had died in Syria since mid-March after the regime dispatched tanks and troops to quell a wave of political protests.

"According to reliable sources on the ground, the number of those killed since the onset of the unrest in mid-March 2011 in that country has now reached at least 2,600," Ms Pillay said, adding that her office continues to be denied access to Syria by the government of President Bashar Assad.

One of President Assad's top advisers disagreed with the UN estimate however, insisting that the real number was around 1,400 deaths and that almost half of those were policemen and soldiers rather than protesters.

"The (UN's) information is wrong," said Bouthaina Shaaban, who was in Moscow for talks with top Russian officials.

"According to our data, the number of dead is about 700 on each side. We have a full list with the names of the victims and can make it public." more