Syrian civilians between hammer of DAESH and anvil of regime

Syrian Observatory reports new statistics revealing death toll of civilians by DAESH, adding new figure to documentation of Syrians during five years of war

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jun 14, 2016

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Tuesday that it had documented the death of 4,000 people, 2,142 of whom were civilians including 78 children and 121 women, by DAESH terrorists, revealing a new statistic of civilians killed in the five-year old war in Syria.

The civilians were killed either by firing squad, slaughter, separating the head from the body, stoning, throwing off high building, or burning.

DAESH, claimed a so-called caliphate state in 2014 in Syria and Iraq making the Syrian city of Raqqa its capital. The terrorist group have been active in swathes under its control in the Syrian provinces of Damascus, Rif Dimashq, Deir Ezzor, Al-Raqqah, Al-Hasakah, Aleppo, Homs and Hama.

The Britain-based Observatory documented the death of more than 930 people by DAESH in the massacre which took place in the eastern countryside Deir Ezzor from the clan of al Sh’aytat.

In the city of Kobani in Aleppo and the village of Barkh Botan in the southern countryside of the city, 223 were killed by DAESH opening fire on them and by white arm.

A further 46 civilians were killed by DAESH in al Mab’oujeh village which is inhabited by citizens of the Ismailia, Sunni and Alawite communities in the eastern countryside of Salamiyyeh city. They were burned, slaughtered and shot.

In a period of one month - between the 29th of January 2016 until the 29th of February 2016-  the terrorist group killed about 71 people in its controlled areas in Syria.

Why does DAESH kill civilians?

According to SOHR, DAESH has murdered 71 Syrians during its 19 months of existence in Syria, 28 of them were civilians which included 5 women.

The terrorist group has used the following reasons, giving “false evidence” as a means to carry out its killings:

“Cooperating with the infidels Kurds, apostasy, not repenting, cooperating and communicating with the regime, causing corruption, working for the US-led coalition, working for the rebels in al Raqqah, brigade and spying on soldiers of the state [DAESH], adultery, witchcraft, mocking the Holy Qur’an, sleeper cells, working against the state [DAESH], entering fuel into the regime’s controlled areas, and cooperating with the Free Syrian Army,” reported SOHR.

Moreover, a child was among the 7 people killed by the terrorists on charges of cooperating with the regime and fighting against them.

SOHR confirmed the incident saying a child and a man were killed by beheading, while the rest were killed by firing squad.

Also the activists of the SOHR learned from reliable sources that DAESH threw the body of a former member of the group off a mountain. When his body was found, there were marks of gun shots all over his body.

The sources informed the activists of the Observatory that the DAESH member had left the group for nearly 5 months. He was then captured by them, and when his body was returned to his home in the town of Thubyan, east of Deir Ezzor, they put out a paper reading “he fought against the State [DAESH] and burned cars [for the group].”

The watchdog said earlier this week that a total of 894 people have been killed in Syria since the last peace talks which was held in Geneva on Jan. 29. The death toll included 190 people who were killed in a series of bombings carried out by the terrorist group in Damascus and Homs. 

Despite carrying out all these atrocities, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed by regime forces, rather than DAESH.

According to the Syrian network for Human Rights more than 183,000 civilians were killed in the Syrian war including 19,367 children, 19,288 women, 546 medics and 471 media activists. 

Rights groups differ in giving figures for those killed in the Syrian war but a report released by the Syrian Center for Policy Research on Feb. 11 puts the total death toll of Syrians during the five years of war at 470,000, with around 1.9 million Syrians having suffered injuries at some point during the war.

If accurate, this means that 11.5 percent of Syria’s total population has either been killed or wounded in the conflict. It claims that 400,000 of these deaths were due to violence, while 70,000 died due to poor supplies and conditions.

Furthermore, the report states that the life expectancy in Syria has dropped from 70 years in 2010, to 55.4 years in 2015.

In the same period, Syria’s mortality rate increased from 4.4 deaths per 1,000 people to 10.9 deaths per 1,000 people.


In 2015 alone, SOHR estimated the number of people killed in Syria to be 55,219, including 20,977 civilians, 2,574 of whom were children.

Despite a decrease from the 76,021 deaths recorded by the SOHR in 2014, the deadliest year in the conflict, last year was still the third deadliest.

The Assad regime has been neglecting its obligation to uphold its end of the deal as agreed in Vienna, but continues to ignore UN resolutions that prohibit regime use of barrel bombs and chemical agents.

Syrian regime violates UNSC resolutions

On February, 27 a cessation of hostilities agreement, brokered by the US and Russia and supposed to last for two weeks, came into effect, but this also seemed to be like all the other UNSC resolutions that have previously been broken by the regime since the war started in Syria.

The SNHR issued on March, 3 its third report about the cessation of hostilities as they recorded 44 breaches, 27 breaches by combat, 17 breaches by regime forces arrests.

The report recorded regime forces committing 20 breaches by combat while suspected Russian forces committed 6 breaches.

Toxic gases were used by the Syrian regime in several attacks targeting civilians, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, since the cessation of hostilities deal was made.

On the fifth day of the cessation deal, the SNHR reported the death of 4 individuals and documented less than 180 breaches.

Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, Assad regime forces have violated the resolutions of the UN Security Council (UNSC), numbers 2118 (2013) and 2209 (2015), which prohibit the use of any toxic chemical, which has been used on several occasions, such as chlorine being used as a chemical weapon, noting that any use of them by the Syrian regime is a violation of resolutions. 

The resolution condemned in the strongest terms any use of any toxic chemical as a weapon in Syria noting that civilians continue to be killed and injured by toxic chemicals being used as weapons in Syria by the regime forces. 

Russian Intervention in Syria war

After the Russian military intervention in Syria in support of the Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad, where it started its campaign in September 31 2015, more than 1733 civilian Syrians out of the 5000 people killed were killed by Russian air strikes, the SOHR said on March 3 2016.

The Observatory reported the death of 429 male and female children under the age of 18 and 250 women over the age of 18, while 1054 males over the age of 18 were killed.

1. Using chemicals

The Syrian regime used toxic chlorine gas in Syria at least eight times over a five-month period in different areas of Syria, London-based Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said on Tuesday.

The rights group monitoring the conflict in Syria documented the “war crimes” of Syrian regime leader Assad saying that gas had been used between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31 last year, mostly in Idlib, the Damascus suburbs, Hama, Homs, Daraa and Deir Al Zour.

Toxic chlorine gas usage in Syria was banned under the resolutions agreed by the Syrian government and UNSC on 14 September 2013 following the August 2013 chemical attack on Ghouta in Damascus that killed more than 1,400 people including many civilians.

However, the report said that, “all our evidence indicates that the Syrian regime have violated UNSC resolutions 2118, 2209 and 2235” by perpetrating toxic gas attacks and added that the United States warned the Assad regime saying that it had crossed the “red line” and was “impotent” of performing any action.

Since then 87 people have been killed and 867 injured by exposure to poisonous gas, the network said in a report covering the last five months of 2015.

Although Syria’s regime denies using chemical weapons, the US and other Western nations assert the regime is to blame, especially for dropping barrel bombs containing chlorine and toxic agents by helicopter.

The UN's Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a report in January that some Syrians had been exposed to sarin gas in Syria.

The OPCW chief Ahmet Uzumcu said in a report that was attached by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to a Dec, 29 letter to the 15-nation Security Council, that chemical weapon usage by the Syrian regime was found in 11 instances.

2. Cluster bombs:

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused Russia and Bashar al Assad’s regime forces of using banned cluster bombs in Syria on at least 20 occasions since September.

According to a report published by the New York-based rights watchdog on Sunday, the attacks took place in “nine locations that have killed at least 35 civilians, including five women and 17 children, and injured dozens."

The use of cluster munitions violates a United Nations Security Council resolution passed in February 2014 calling to end the “indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas," the report underlined.

Pointing out that armed opposition groups fighting in Syria do not have access to aircraft used to drop the bombs, the report said that the perpetrators of such violations were either Russian or Syrian regime forces.   

Furthermore, the report noted that there were seven types of air-dropped and ground-launched clusters used in the incidents, all of which were made in Russia or the former Soviet Union.

Although the production, transfer and use of cluster bombs is largely banned by the 2010 Convention on Cluster Munitions, to which 118 countries are signatories, Russia and Syria are not among them.

3. Barrel bombs:

According to the report documented by the Syrian Network for Human Right (SNHR ), no less than 19947 barrel bombs were dropped by Syrian regime helicopters on different Syrian provinces since the resolution was issued.

At least 8136 civilians including 2274 children and 2036 women were killed according to SNHR, due to the barrel bombs attacks carried out until the second anniversary of the UNSC resolution which was issued in 22 February 2014.

The UNSC resolution 2139 that was issued on 22 February 2014 required that all forces “immediately cease all attacks against civilians, as well as the indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas, including shelling and aerial bombardment, such as the use of barrel bombs.”  

Author: Nebras Ibrahim

TRTWorld and agencies