We issue our regular monthly report on Syrian war dead from the NCF's chief Syria analyst, Shree Wood. We recorded 3,301 as having been killed on the last month we have data from, the month of December, of whom 644 were pro government combatants and just over 600 were rebels. Shree's report follows below. Full background data in detail as compiled by the NCF analysing all available source data on a day to day basis can be found on this link.
The line graph below is a timeline which helps to depict the rise and decline in the death figures over the last 13 months from December 2012 to December 2013.
The graph compares the casualty figures for December 2012 and December 2013. It shows that a total of 5,708 people were killed in December 2012. The number of actual combatants (rebel and government forces) killed in December 2012 were more than double of those killed in December 2013.
The high civilian death figures for December 2012 were because of air strikes by Syrian forces. One such air strike in Halfaya in central Hama province saw dozens being injured. Videos showing the aftermath of the attack with bodies strewn on the street were also posted on-line. Syrian state TV claimed, "an armed terrorist group" was responsible for the attack and not the Syrian government.
The rebel and government death figures for December 2013 are much lower than previous months, though it is incredibly hard to differentiate clearly between combatants and non-combatants. The lack of analysts on the ground clearly affects the accuracy of casualty figures. Air attacks, shelling, tank fire, bombs and face-to-face combat have all contributed to the rising toll. The tolls were higher in Homs, Damascus province, Idlib, Aleppo, Daara and Hama. More than three-quarters of the victims are men.
In early December 2013, the Syrian air force bombarded the Northern city of Aleppo as fighting between government forces and rebels continued (much of northern Syria fell to opposition fighters over the past year). At least 76 people were killed in the air strikes.
More than 500 people were killed including 151 children in an air raid during the last week of December. There were also un-confirmed reports of Syrian government helicopters hitting Aleppo with barrel bombs which are oil drums filled with explosives or even mails and scrap metal.
With the conflict showing no signs of easing off, the plight of Syrian refugees continues to worsen. With the onset of winter, many refugees are without proper shelter, heating or warm clothing.
The leader of the UK Independence Party, Nigel Farage has called on the West to take in Syrian refugees. He stated that "Western countries should take on an allocation." The UK has not taken Syrian refugees to date. Now it is reconsidering. The Swedish government, by way of contrast, opened its doors to all Syrian refugees without reservations.