Death Toll in Syria Tops 55,000 in 2015

Death Toll in Syria Tops 55,000 in 2015Death Toll in Syria Tops 55,000 in 2015

It was not the deadliest year in Syria’s ongoing civil war but more than 55,000 people were killed, including 21,000 civilians.

The conflict, entering its fifth year in March, has left more than 250,000 dead, according to the United Nations estimates, AFP reported.

Nearly 21,000 civilians were among more than 55,000 people killed last year in Syria’s civil war, a monitoring group reported on Thursday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had documented 55,219 deaths in Syria in 2015 , marking the country’s third deadliest year since the conflict erupted in 2011.

This year’s 20,977 civilian deaths included 2,574 children, said the watchdog, which relies on a network of activists inside Syria. The tally also covered 16,212 fatalities among militants, including fighters from the IS terrorist militia and Al-Qaeda’s Syria branch, Al-Nusra Front.

The group also documented the deaths of 17,686 government forces, among them over 8,800 army troops, more than 7,000 Syrian pro-government militiamen and 378 members of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement.

A total of 1,214 foreign fighters from other countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan, died fighting for or assisting the government, the Observatory said.

The group said it had recorded the deaths of an additional 274 people whose identities could not be established.

Large territories in Syria are under the control of IS extremists, which on Thursday claimed responsibility for an attack that the Observatory said killed 18 people in a Kurdish-controlled Syrian city near the border with Turkey.

IS said in an online statement, posted by supporters, that its fighters, wearing explosive belts, carried out back-to-back explosions targeting crowds of Christian fighters in the city of Qamishli in Syria’s northeastern province of Al-Hassakeh. The radical group alleged that the attacks left nearly 30 dead and 100 wounded.

However, the Observatory said at least 18 were killed and 30 wounded in twin attacks that targeted two restaurants in the city’s mostly Christian district of Al-Wasta.

Qamishli, a mostly Kurdish city, has repeatedly been targeted by IS militants in recent months.

On December 12, at least 26 people were killed in triple suicide car bombings in the town of Tal Tamer in Al-Hassakeh.