At least 40,000 people have been killed in violence across Syria since the outbreak of an anti-regime revolt in March last year, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday.
“At least 28,026 civilians, 1,379 defectors, 10,150 soldiers and 574 unidentified people have been killed in Syria in the past 20 months,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.
Civilians represented the vast majority of the 40,129 people killed, said the Observatory, which includes non-military people who have taken up arms against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in that figure.
The Observatory did not include thousands of people who have gone missing in the conflict, some thought to be in detention and others slain. It also excluded thousands of dead pro-regime militiamen.
The Britain-based Observatory relies on a network of activists, lawyers and medics at military and civilian hospitals inside Syria for its information.
The uprising began as pro-reform protests inspired by the Arab Spring but transformed into an armed insurgency after the government began brutally crushing demonstrations.
Most rebels, like the population, are Sunni Muslims in a country dominated by a minority regime of Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.