BEIRUT (Dispatches) – The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based war monitor, said on Monday about 511,000 people had been killed in the Syrian war since it began seven years ago.
The Observatory, which tracks death tolls using a network of contacts inside Syria, said it had identified more than 350,000 of those killed, and the remainder were cases where it knew deaths had occurred but did not know the victims’ names.
The conflict began after mass protests on March 15 2011, dragging in regional and global powers and forcing millions of people - more than half the pre-war population - to flee their homes.
About 85 percent of the dead were civilians, the Observatory said. The Syrian military, joined by its ally Russia since 2015, has used air power to stop the western-backed terrorism in the country.
As the war approaches its eighth year, intense fighting continues in several areas, including Eastern Ghouta near the capital Damascus and Afrin near the Turkish border.
The Syrian government forces have controlled 60 percent of the terrorist-held areas in Eastern Ghouta countryside of the capital Damascus after 13 days of battles, a monitor group reported on Monday.
This comes as intense battles have been raging since midnight between the terrorists and the government forces mainly near the city of Harasta and the Arbeen area in Eastern Ghouta, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
It added that the Syrian forces with the backing of the Russians managed to completely isolate Harasta in the western part of Eastern Ghouta.
The government forces also isolated the key terrorist bastion in Douma district, where a major terrorist group in Eastern Ghouta, is positioned.
The situation in Eastern Ghouta has flared up since late last month as a result of a wide-scale military operation in that area. The Syrian army has been fighting there to dislodge the al-Qaida-linked groups from that area.