As the U.N.
Security Council meets
today to discuss how to halt Syria's descent into civil war, the available
statistics show a country more violent than ever -- and increasingly defined by
the rising bloodshed in Syria and found that the country was on pace for its deadliest
month yet. Since then, the United Nations has
admitted that it can no longer keep track of the country's death. However, the
Violations Documenting Center in Syria
(VDC), which is affiliated with local activist groups, has continued to keep
track of the body count -- and the picture isn't pretty.
three months have easily been Syria's bloodiest, resulting in 3,029 deaths. By
way of comparison, roughly 3,100 people were killed during the first six months of the revolt -- meaning that
violence in the country has doubled since then. And it's only getting worse:
829 Syrians were killed in November, 1,049 were killed in December, and 1,151
were killed in January.
statistics also bear out the view that the revolt increasingly resembles a guerilla war. According to the VDC's statistics, 312 soldiers were
killed in January -- 27 percent of the total death toll, the highest proportion during
the entire conflict. By contrast, in December, military members only accounted
for 18 percent of the deaths. It is unclear whether the VDC counts the deaths
of defected Syrian soldiers as civilian or military, so the actual percentage
of combatants killed in Syria could be even higher.
February also marks the 30th anniversary of the Hama Massacre, when President
Hafez al-Assad initiated a brutal crackdown in the western Syrian city in order to put
down a rebellion. Since then, Syrians, historians and policymakers have
wondered how a regime could be allowed to virtually destroy a city while the
international community sat and watched.
low-end casualty estimates for Hama stand at around 7,000 people. According to
the VDC, a total of 7,054 Syrians have been killed in the past year. Three decades later, it seems, we have our answer.
JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images