At least 191,369 people have been killed in the Syrian Civil War since 2011, the United Nations Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Friday. High Commissioner Navi Pillay said the U.N. Security Council has failed Syrians after a number of vetoes and disagreements between Russia, China and Western powers have stalled efforts to help the war-torn nation.
“The killers, destroyers and torturers in Syria have been empowered and emboldened by the international paralysis,” High Commissioner Pillay said in a statement. “There are serious allegations that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed time and time again with total impunity, yet the Security Council has failed to refer the case of Syria to the International Criminal Court, where it clearly belongs.”
Pillay’s parting shots came a week before she is expected to step down as High Commissioner. She went on to criticize the lack of international coverage, saying “… the fighting in Syria and its dreadful impact on millions of civilians has dropped off the international radar.”
Russia and the United States have often used their Security Council veto power to block resolutions over Syria they do not agree with. Russia has supported Bashar Assad’s regime since the war broke out, while the U.S. has supported and armed moderate rebels. Russia has vetoed nine U.N. resolutions over Syria and China four.
Nearly 40,000 fatalities were reported in the Governorate of Rural Damascus, Syria’s capital. At least 31,000 were reported in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and an epicenter of the war. The vast majority of the victims have been male. At least 8,803 children, of whom 2,165 are under 10 years old, have been killed.
The actual number of people killed is likely over 200,000, but the OHCHR could not verify 51,953 deaths. A total of 318,910 deaths were reported, but the U.N. declined to list deaths that involved unconfirmed dates, names and locations.
“It’s important to remember that it's 191,000 reported deaths, not necessarily 191,000 people killed,” said Rupert Colville, a United Nations spokesman.
An estimated 2.9 million Syrians have fled the country and another 6.4 million are internally displaced, according to the United Nations.
Syria has been named the world's most dangerous place for reporters by the Committee To Project Journalists. James Foley, a U.S. journalist, was recently beheaded by the Islamic State (ISIS) after being captured in Syria two years ago. At least 67 journalists have been killed there for their work covering the Syrian Civil War, according to the CPJ. Another eight were killed in Syria without a definitive motive found.