Almost 1,000 Palestinians dead among 70,000 Syria death toll
UN states that death toll in Syria may be as high as 70,000, with Palestinian deaths almost 10 times higher than Hamas-Israel conflict of last year
Over 9,000 people are likely to have died this year alone in the ongoing Syria conflict, with concerns being raised as to the total death toll which is likely to be as high as 70,000 people.
Navi Pillay, the UN's human rights chief, said the death toll in Syria had exceeded 60,000 by January, a figure she called "truly shocking". The figure was a almost 30 percent higher than estimates by most anti-regime activists. Now it has emerged that the death toll is estimated to have exceeded 70,000, with estimates showing that around 1,000 Palestinians have been killed as a result.
The latter figure is particularly interesting given the regional and global focus on the plight of the Palestinian people.
During last year's Israel-Hamas conflict, around 100 Palestinians are said to have perished in an intense campaign between the Jewish state and the terrorist organisation in Gaza. So far, few human rights organisations and non-governmental organisations have highlighted the fact that the Syria-Palestinian death toll is up to 10 times higher than last year's conflict.
Pillay said "the lack of consensus on Syria and the resulting inaction has been disastrous, and civilians on all sides have paid the price."
"We will be judged against the tragedy that has unfolded before our eyes," she warned. "This council, as well as those of us in key positions within the U.N., will be rightly asked what we did."
Pillay said one immediate action the council can take is to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court, which could investigate allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
"This would send a clear message to both the government and the opposition that there will be consequences for their actions, and could have a very significant preventive effect," she said.
In January, Iran-backed Hamas claimed that around 885 Palestinians had been killed in the Syrian conflict, in which the Assad regime is reportedly being increasingly supported by Hezbollah, another organisation which derives funding from Iran. According to the report, based on Hamas figures, a further 20,500 Palestinian refugees from Syria remain trapped in Lebanon, including at least 3,500 who fled last month following a fierce outbreak of violence in the Yarmouk refugee camp outside Damascus.
Syria is said to be home to around half a million Palestinians.
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