Bashar al-Assad’s regime and its allies were responsible for 75 percent of the Syrian civil war’s civilian casualties in 2016, a report by an independent rights group has revealed.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights [SNHR] said on Sunday that the Syrian military, including loyalist militias, and Russian forces killed 12,703 civilians last year out of a total of 16,913 deaths.
The group said that extremist groups such as the Islamic State group [IS] and former al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fateh al-Sham killed nine percent of civilians and that rebel groups were responsible for six percent.
The SNHR explained that the number of victims was likely much higher because of difficulties in collecting information on casualties.
“The Syrian government and [IS] don’t publish, reveal, or record their victims,” the report said.
“We face additional difficulties as many of those victims are killed on battlefronts and not inside cities,” it said, referring to casualties caused by opposition groups.
The report said that 3,923 children and 2,552 women were killed by the main influential parties of the war in 2016.
The SNHR said the regime and its allies have committed “crime against humanity” with its systematic attacks against non-combatants.
“According to hundreds of eyewitness accounts, at least 90 percent of widespread and single attacks [by the regime] were directed against civilians and civilian facilities,” the group said.
The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has maintained that it is fighting against “terrorists” and has denied targeting civilians in the war.
The Syrian conflict has killed more than 310,000 people, and displaced over half the population, including millions who have fled abroad since it began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.
The peaceful pro-reform demonstrations were met with brutal repression, prompting an armed uprising that later descended into a multi-sided nationwide conflict.