5,000 people estimated killed in Syrian violence in August ALONE
Air force, artillery bombardments chief reason behind casualties
About 5,000 people have been killed in Syria's ongoing civil war for the month of August. The latest tally was the highest figure ever reported in the more than 17 months of fighting. Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime has unleashed deadly air power against the revolt for the first time. UNICEF has put the death toll for last week alone at 1,600, the largest weekly figure for the entire war.
Air bombardment has battered Syria's largest city, Aleppo, which has been mostly quiet for the majority of the uprising.
Between 300 and 600 people were killed in the Damascus suburb of Daraya during days of shelling and a killing spree by troops who stormed the town after heavy fighting.
"The reason behind the high death toll is military operations, shelling, clashes and air raids," Rami Abdul-Rahman who heads the Observatory says.
"I would say most people are being killed during clashes and executions," he said. Scores of victims found in the streets around Syria have been shot execution style with a bullet in the back of their heads.
Many say that the uprising reached a major turning point last month when Assad's forces began to use air power for the first time to try to put down the revolt. Air bombardment has battered Syria's largest city, Aleppo, which has been mostly quiet for the majority of the uprising.
The Britain-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 5,440 people, including 4,114 civilians were killed in August.
The Observatory and the LCC declared over the weekend that more than 100 people were killed throughout Syria and the groups have been reporting 100, 250 deaths per day over the past week.
Syria's uprising has been far the most brutal and bloodiest the so-called Arab Spring has ever seen. That wave of revolt and reform through North Africa and the Middle East has seen the removal of long-serving authoritarian leaders in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Libya.
Altogether, the fighting in Syria has averaged out to about 1,300-1,500 deaths per month, the majority of those being unarmed civilians. The figure for August makes it more than three times higher than average.
Human rights groups had previously reported a toll of around 20,000 more than a month ago.
Human Rights Watch reports that Syrian government forces have killed scores of civilians over the past three weeks by bombarding at least 10 areas where they were lining up to buy bread at bakeries near and around Aleppo.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Syria, air bombardment, fatalities, civilian deaths, Aleppo
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