9 Insurgents Killed In Syrian Government’s Latest Attack

Syrian forces conducted a missile strike on a vehicle carrying members of a Turkey-backed armed opposition faction in a rebel-held part of the country’s north on Wednesday. Nine gunmen were killed in this attack in the south of the northern town of Afrin, under the control of Turkey-backed opposition fighters, the opposition activists said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, and the opposition’s Orient news said the nine fighters killed belonged to the Failaq al-Sham group. Orient reported that the attack on the bus came as Failaq al-Sham members were heading to the front lines to replace their comrades.

Frontlines have experienced sporadic bombardment since a Russian-backed government offensive ended in March 2020 following a truce reached by the presidents of Russia and Turkey who support rival parties in the Syrian conflict.

The 11-year-old war in numbers

Syria’s bloodshed began after a mass uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule in March 2011 during the so-called Arab Spring that immersed the region into mass demonstrations and caused the toppling of Tunisia’s President Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak. Other countries like Syria, Yemen, and Libya fell into brutal wars.

The al-Assad regime responded with a brutal crackdown against protesters, drawing condemnation from international leaders and human rights groups.

After the beginning of Syria’s war, multiple countries and forces have played a role in the development of the conflict. Since 2015, Russia has been the Assad government’s main ally. On Assad’s side, we can also find the governments of majority-Shia Iran and Iraq and Lebanon-based Hezbollah.

On the anti-Assad rebel side, we find Sunni-majority countries, including Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. The US has armed anti-Assad rebel groups and led an international coalition bombing ISIL targets since 2014 but has not involved itself as deeply as other countries.

Syrian government forces now control much of Syria with the help of President Bashar Assad’s main backers Russia and Iran.

The United Nations have recently said that between March 1, 2011, and March 31, 2021, 306,887 civilians were killed in the ongoing conflict, the highest official estimate to date of conflict-related civilian deaths in the country.

It is also reported that the conflict has displaced half the country’s pre-war population of 23 million.

Back in September, the United Nations human rights office called the tally of at least 350,209 deaths between March 2011 to March 2021 during Syria’s war, an “undercount” in its first report since 2014.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 500,000 people have been killed in the warfare and is examining further 200,000 cases. “It is very difficult to give a statistic that is close to reality,” Rami Abdurrahman, director of the British-based group, told Reuters news agency.

Other figures by the Syrian Network for Human Rights represent the tragic killing of at least 29,661 children since March 2011, 181 tortured to death and 5,036 still detained or forcibly disappeared.

22,930 [were] at the hands of the Syrian regime forces, 2,032 by Russian forces, 958 by ISIS, and 71 others by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham which makes Damascus responsible for 78% of extrajudicial killings of children in Syria, with 2013 reportedly being the worst year.

Out of the 181 children tortured to death in the country, 174 of those deaths were in the extensive network of detention centers run by the Syrian regime. Overall, 14,400 people have been tortured to death throughout the conflict.

As for those 5,036 children still detained or disappeared, 3,649 are in the hands of the regime, 667 are in the hands of the Kurdish militia the Syrian Democratic Forces, 42 are in the hands of the militia Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and 359 are controlled by other armed opposition groups, the SNHR’s document has shown.

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