Syria death toll: UN envoy estimates 400,000 killed - AJE News
The UN special envoy for Syria has estimated that 400,000 people have been killed throughout the last five years of civil war, urging major and regional powers to help salvage a crumbling ceasefire.
Explaining that the death toll was based on his own estimate, Staffan de Mistura said on Friday that it was not an official UN statistic.
"We had 250,000 as a figure two years ago," he said. "Well, two years ago was two years ago."
The UN no longer keeps track of the death toll due to the inaccessibility of many areas and the complications of navigating conflicting statistics put forward by the Syrian government and armed opposition groups.
The envoy said he planned to continue peace talks next week, despite the "worrisome trends on the ground", adding that he would seek clarity from government negotiators about their interpretation of political transition.
The government, which says the future of President Bashar al-Assad is not up for discussion in Geneva, says that political transition will come in the shape of a national unity government including current officials, opposition and independent figures.
"Is this going to be cosmetic, is this going to be real, and if it is real what does it mean for the opposition and so on?" he said.
Opposition negotiators have rejected any proposal which leaves Assad in power. They have also accused the government of violating a February "cessation of hostilities" agreement, pointing to air strikes on rebel-held areas which have killed dozens of people this week.
This weekend gives a great impression of how the vast majority of civilians died and continue to die in this war (spoiler: it ain't ISIS). And most of it is just from in and around Aleppo.
Warning: some videos are NSFW
April 22, 2016: Air strikes on Syria's Aleppo kill 25
Alleppo suburb Andan
April 23, 2016: Truce in peril as Syria bombardments kill at least 30
Aleppo: Double tap strikes - a reoccurring theme
April 24, 2016: At least 26 killed as fighting rages in Syria's Aleppo
Since the Russian involvement cluster bombs are also a reoccurring theme
When you're out there on the front line while Assad or Russian air force hits your town
Videos are important because these threads usually end up being polluted by shitsposts about the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights which is often cited in articles on Syria.
Beyond ISIS, the questions are now:
- Will Russia / Assad hybrid forces storm Aleppo?
Judging by the above air strikes and by: Russian artillery deployed for Aleppo offensive as Syria talks falter | World news | The Guardian I'd say that it's pretty likely.
Oh, so btw.: Putin Orders Main Part of Russian Army to Start Syria Pullout - NeoGAF was complete and utter bullshit, back and forth Putin tactics known from Ukraine.
For one, Weeks after pullout from Syria, Russian military is as busy as ever - The Washington Post
Other than that: This is the advanced Russian helicopter that just crashed in Syria - The Washington Post
You can also just check these two "Bosporus watch" accounts which update a few times per week on Russian ships going South full and going north (back) empty: https://twitter.com/alperboler & https://twitter.com/YorukIsik
It's easy to recognize by comparing a ship's waterline.
- Will the U.S. start to deliver sophisticated MANPADs to the rebels?
U.S. Readies Plan B to Arm Syria Rebels - WSJ
WASHINGTONThe Central Intelligence Agency and its regional partners have drawn up plans to supply more-powerful weapons to moderate rebels in Syria fighting the Russia-backed regime in the event the countrys six-week-old truce collapses, according to U.S. and other officials.
The U.S. Wants To Design Safer Anti-Aircraft Missiles for Syrias Rebels | Foreign Policy
In recent days, U.S. officials have hinted that they may be willing to provide the weapons known in military circles as MANPADS, short for man-portable air defense system with one major caveat: They include technical controls that would limit where they can be used to ensure they dont one day fall into terrorist hands.
But the design of such weapons controls remain highly elusive. U.S. engineers arent known to have sorted out how to build a GPS chip into the weapon that would ensure it could be fired only on the front lines of northwest Syria. They also havent sorted out a way of rendering the weapons inert after a certain amount of time so they dont show up on distant battlefields way in the future. Weapons can be hacked, and arms control experts fear MANPADS supplied by the United States might end up with militants from groups like the Islamic State, reconfigured, and then used to shoot down a civilian airliner.
Its possible that CIA engineers have secretly built and tested MANPADS and are waiting for the right moment to deploy them. If so, the agency has remained mum. The CIA declined to comment for this article. Raytheon, which makes the primary MANPADS in the American arsenal, the Stinger, declined to comment. The Pentagon referred comment to the State Department, which declined to comment on reports of MANPADS being delivered to Syria.
A bloody Syrian government strike on a market in the town of Maarat al-Noaman on Tuesday that killed dozens provided the latest illustration of why the rebels have been clamoring for the weapons so loudly. The provision of MANPADS would make it easier for rebels to shoot down the low-flying Syrian government planes and helicopters carrying out indiscriminate attacks with brutal weapons like barrel bombs. The missiles would also force Assads warplanes to fly at higher altitudes, making it harder for them to hit their targets.
- Will Turkey intervene in case of a full-on assault on Aleppo?
If it doesn't I'd say that up to a million refugees from Aleppo and its vicinity will come knocking at its borders.