Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Minimum of 25,428 civilians killed since Commons vote – true number may be over 44,400

The Violations Documentation Center in Syria now lists 25,428 civilians killed since the 29 August 2013 UK Parliament vote against intervention.

This total includes 234 civilians killed by rebels listed under ‘Regime’ casualties. 25,194 are listed under ‘Martyrs’, a figure which includes 165 killed by US-led Coalition air strikes, leaving 25,029 civilians killed by the regime or others.

VDC figures are a minimum count of people confirmed killed, and as omniscience is impossible in wartime they are certain to be an undercount. When compared to the latest UN minimum count of 191,369 confirmed violent deaths (both civilians and combatants) up to the end of April 2014, VDC figures for the same period show only 109,585 killed. (95,143 under ‘Martyrs’ and 14,442 under ’Regime’.)

If the VDC figure for civilians killed since the 2013 vote were found to be an undercount to the same degree, then the actual figure would be over 44,400 civilians killed since the UK Parliament rejected intervention.

Amongst the 25,428 civilians VDC Syria confirmed killed since the UK vote are 9,557 people killed by air attacks. 165 of them were killed by US-led strikes, and 9,392 were killed by Assad’s air force. That means at least 36% of all civilians confirmed killed since the vote could have been saved by a No-Fly Zone. Again, the confirmed number is certainly an undercount, possibly by thousands.

UNHCR numbers for registered refugees are also lower than the actual number of people believed to have fled Syria. When the UK Parliament debated intervention on the 29th of August 2013 the number of registered Syrian refugees was 1,830,557. The current number of registered refugees is 3,726,884, over twice as many, but the true number will be higher still.

Air attacks by the regime are a key driver of refugee flows: see Barrel Bombs: A tool to force displacement in Eastern Aleppo by Ryan O’Farrell, and the March 2014 Human Rights Watch report, Unlawful Air Attacks Terrorize Aleppo. This month will see the first anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 2139 which demanded an end to air attacks on civilian areas, amongst other things. It has not been enforced.

Protect Civilians
Enforce UN Security Council Resolution 2139
Syria needs a No-Fly Zone

In giving these numbers, I am trying to demonstrate the scale of the consequences of the decisions made by MPs in August 2013. I have not shown graphic images of the butchery that continues every day, but you should remember that these are not peaceful deaths, eased by painkillers in quiet hospital beds. And for every body fatally ripped apart there are untold others maimed for life. And they all have names, or had them once.

Below are the confirmed killed for one day, 25 December 2014.

Click to enlarge.

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