The U.N. Has Stopped Counting the Dead in Syria

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Jan. 7 2014 12:15 PM

U.N. Stops Counting Dead in Syria

In a particularly grim milestone, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has stopped updating its Syrian civil war death toll because, according to the AP, it “can no longer verify the sources of information that led to its last count of at least 100,000 in late July.”

The U.N. estimate initially relied on those provided by six nongovernmental organizations, but over time some of those were deemed to be unreliable. The most widely cited NGO, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, claims to have identified “130,433 casualties since the beginning of the Syrian uprising in 18/3/2011” not including missing persons held captive by either regime forces or rebels. Of course, as with other conflicts, the exact number is likely to be a topic of debate for some time.

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In other news, “Syria's Information Minister said on Tuesday the Syrian people have decided President Bashar al-Assad should be nominated for another term.” So there’s that. 

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 

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