The number of people killed in the Syrian conflict has risen to almost 93,000, according to the latest UN estimates. Human rights officials claim that the actual figure could be much higher.
The United Nations said on Thursday that it had confirmed the deaths of 92,901 people between March 2011 and the end of April this year due to the conflict in Syria.
UN top human rights chief Navi Pillay said that more than 5,000 deaths had been documented each month since last July. The highest death tolls since November last year, during which time there have been just less than 27,000 deaths, were in the Aleppo and rural Damascus regions.
The previous UN figure, issued in mid-May, had put the number of fatalities at 80,000.
"This extremely high rate of killings, month after month, reflects the drastically deteriorating pattern of the conflict over the past year," Pillay said in a statement. The total figure includes some 6,561 children - 1,729 of them under 10 years of age.
"There are also well-documented cases of individual children being tortured and executed, and entire families, including babies, being massacred - which, along with this devastatingly high death toll, is a terrible reminder of just how vicious this conflict has become," Pillay said.
Data from several sources
The latest analysis was compiled with data from eight separate sources, including the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Killings were only included if the name of the victim and the date and location of the death were known. The real figure is believed to be significantly higher.
Pillay called on the international community to do more to bring about an end to the violence.
"Nobody is gaining anything from this senseless carnage," she said. "States with influence could, if they act collectively, do a lot more to bring the conflict to a swift end, thereby saving countless more lives."
Some 82.6 percent of those whose deaths were documented were male, with 7.6 percent being female. The analysis did not differentiate consistently between combatants and non-combatants, and the victim's age was not recorded in about three-quarters of all cases.
Syrian rebels, who included Sunni extremists, were reported to have attacked the village of Hatla on Tuesday, killing more than 60 Shiite fighters and civilians. Meanwhile, activists from the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that rebels had killed six government troops and seized an important military base in the central Hama region.
rc/slk (AFP, AP,dpa)