Most Reported Deaths in Syria Have Not Been Committed by Assad Forces

John Glaser, September 18, 2013

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One of the most frequently uttered fictions coming from Syria hawks is the claim that the Assad regime has slaughtered 100,000 Syrians. As Sen. John McCain has repeatedly yelped, “The fact is Bashar Assad has massacred 100,000 people.”

But as Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations points out, this is a “misleading characterization” that contradicts the very sources interventionists cite for the overall death count.

The most widely quoted source for civil war deaths has been produced by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which consists of ahandful of Syrian activists compiling information in a war zone and presenting the best estimates possible. Despite their potential for bias and the methodological challenges of tracking the Syria war, SOHR estimates are consistent with the latest United Nations numbers. In the past 10 days, both the U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs,Valerie Amos, and the high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, estimated that “more than 100,000″ Syrians have lost their lives in the ongoing civil war.

This is how SOHR breaks down the Syrian deaths:

This grim account is not the Syrian civil war that U.S. policymakers and pundits reference when proposing and debating military intervention options. You will not hear senators assert that Syrian rebels have “massacred” over 45,000 Syrian regime or paramilitary forces.

This is not to excuse the Assad regime’s innumerable war crimes and massacres, but it is important to point out how fallacious statistical references and sweeping exaggerations are employed to help pave the way towards war.

Prior to the Russian proposal to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control, the Obama administration’s insistence on cruise missile attacks carefully obfuscated on the issue of whether this would be a “humanitarian intervention.” At times, however, the administration and its supporters in Congress did specifically cite the Assad regime’s slaughter of Syrians as a motivating factor to bomb. Incidentally, they failed to mention that most of the reported deaths in Syria’s civil war have not been committed by Assad’s forces.




34 Responses to “Most Reported Deaths in Syria Have Not Been Committed by Assad Forces”

  1. [...] Print This | Share This | Send a letter to the editor | Letters | Antiwar Forum [...]

  2. Why would anyone take McCain serious, it was him taking photo with proven terrorists which he apprised. Like the ones when zarkozi and David Cameron apprised as "fighting lions" while it was EU and USA bombing innocent people killing them calling it freeing Libyans, while it was the Swedish citizens in libya fighting the people of libya appraising the terrorism as they are.

  3. Looks to me like more civilians have been killed in the Mexican drug wars than in Syria.

  4. Many of those civilians were also pro-regime.

  5. What you don't know is that SOHR is an Alawite organization, so don't become a sucker!!

  6. Assad’s kill ratio is pathetic. Maybe his forces should spend more time killing fighters instead of gassing civilians. The rebels have this in the bag, they can win this war on their own.

  7. Also lol at how Glaser goes from one misleading bit of information only to go to another: ” most of the reported deaths in Syria’s civil war have not been committed by Assad’s forces.” Notice that the civilians are untallied.

  8. it could not be otherwise, since from recently polling that I've read, some 80-90% of syrians would either prefer Assad….. or at least not prefer the rebels.

  9. "This is not to excuse the Assad regime’s innumerable war crimes and massacres" What the heck? Glaser points out the blatant distortions regarding the death toll, but then fully embraces the lies that Syrian government is committing massacres of civilians. The idea that the SAA is deliberately killing civilians is absurd as they gain nothing from such acts. Rebels and terrorists gain by destabilising the nation. Civilians are killed when caught up in armed conflict (as in all wars) or murdered by armed criminal gangs such as the AQ-affiliated rebel groups like Al Nusra.

  10. Well, they are pandering to the dumb masses.

  11. I really don't understand much technical language but I am sure that This article is great for those want to use this tool.AC Maintenance Contrac

  12. Yeah, that's the American "antiwar" movement in a nutshell. They posture as critics of the American regime and its deceptions but reinforce fundamental untruths through the backdoor.

    Antiwar.com is like most of the so-called alternative media. It's a form of controlled/phony dissent.

    What's happening in Syria is an American proxy war designed to destabilize the country. All deaths are ultimately the responsibilty of AMERICA for instigating and fomenting this war to begin with.

    And no, the Syrian "rebellion" did not start peacefully only to be hijacked by jihadis. It was an armed insurgency from the git go.

  13. They still think we are all fools.

  14. How do you assign blame in war? If a brutal dictator begins a bloody crackdown on anti-regime protesters and this eventually leads to an all-out armed conflict, who is to blame for the deaths and destruction that follow? There have been some 100,000 killed; countless injured; 7 million displaced; and massive destruction all around. No matter how you spin it, those that have orchestrated the war from the beginning are to blame for this, even if one side carries the brunt of the casualties.

    Anti-war means being anti-war, regardless of who is waging it. Apologizing, and that is what this article is indeed doing, for one of the individuals who has led this bloody war merely indicates you have picked sides and are not actually anti-war at all.

  15. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is a British based anti-Assad establisment (originally all of 1 person) much loved by Cameron and Hague in their pursuit of war on Syria.

  16. Yes it is a crime to defend your country and citizens from foreign groomed, funded, trained terrorists let loose on Syria.

  17. “The idea that the SAA is deliberately killing civilians is absurd as they gain nothing from such acts.”

    They have a ton to gain – by getting populations to submit to their violence. This is nothing new for them, see the 1982 Hama massacre.

  18. For the rebels, a little Pro Tip for the Day: Don't start a revolution that you're not prepared to finish all by yourself.

    If you're looking to change things, you'd better be prepared for resistance and be loaded for bear when the existing regime doesn't take kindly to being pushed around. That means gathering supplies and manpower BEFORE you stir the pot, not just wing it and hope someone gives you beans, bullets, and bandaids when it goes badly for you.

    If the rebels wanted peaceful change, why didn't they adopt the Gandhi model and go with mass non-violent civil disobedience? I guarantee you if they would have gone that route they would have far more support from all around the world. As it stands, the FSA and its associated terrorist elements are doing everything they can to become international pariahs while begging for help.

  19. You are correct! there would be NO civil war if outsiders(USA being the major one) did not arm and train insurgents to destabilize the Assad gov't.From day one-Mar.2011 until now.The accurate statement is-100,000 Syrians dead because of outside interference.

  20. They did go that route and got massacred for their troubles, remember.

  21. ". The idea that the SAA is deliberately killing civilians is absurd "

    Who do you think is flying those migs and helicopters? Who is dropping barrel bombs and cluster bombs on neighbourhoods?

  22. [...] Most Reported Deaths in Syria Have Not Been Committed by Assad Forces (antiwar.com) [...]

  23. Because they didn't start the COUNTERrevolution. It was started in Washington as a Color Revolution in which a fortune had been invested ,especially by Hillary Clinton's State Department and a vast amount of training. They are called Color Revolutions. Also when Plan A didn't work, they immediately went to Plan "B", the sniper technique to cause chaos, apparently using Saudi, Qatari special force, those from Qatar in fact coming from the FETA of Pakistan, but under the control of French officers.

    Plan C – Move to this, bring in Jihadist paramilitaries trained by you and recruited and reactivated by the Saudis operating from based in a neighbouring country (Turkey).

    This is the classical Covert Action operation and formula.

  24. "How do you assign blame in war? If a brutal dictator begins a bloody crackdown on anti-regime protesters and this eventually leads to an all-out armed conflict, who is to blame for the deaths and destruction that follow?"

    The brutal dictator is in Washington , as it started on his sign-off. The shooting at police and demonstrators is a standard technique used in many countries.

    All complaints to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

    The America "Assets" and FSA cover for the Jihadists are under the control and funding of Washington , that is what Covert Operations are.

  25. John, the SOHR is a British government controlled organisation, about which concerns have been expressed and using the guy in Coventry a cover.

  26. [...] Most Reported Deaths in Syria Not Committed by Assad Forces [...]

  27. [...] Most Reported Deaths in Syria Have Not Been Committed by Assad Forces!  by John Glaser, http://antiwar.com/blog  One of the most frequently uttered fictions coming from Syria hawks is the claim that the Assad regime has slaughtered 100,000 Syrians. As Sen. John McCain has repeatedly yelped, “The fact is Bashar Assad has massacred 100,000 people.” – But as Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations points out, this is a “misleading characterization” that contradicts the very sources interventionists cite for the overall death count. – The most widely quoted source for civil war deaths has been produced by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which consists of ahandful of Syrian activists compiling information in a war zone and presenting the best estimates possible. Despite their potential for bias and the methodological challenges of tracking the Syria war, SOHR estimates are consistent with the latest United Nations numbers. In the past 10 days, both the U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs,Valerie Amos, and the high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, estimated that “more than 100,000? Syrians have lost their lives in the ongoing civil war. – This is how SOHR breaks down the Syrian deaths: [...]

  28. best part of this post is Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations points out, this is a “misleading characterization”
    thanks
    Regards
    Emily.Bronte

  29. Like the airstrikes in Libya that never happened?

  30. Yeah, that's the American "antiwar" movement in a nutshell. They posture as critics of the American regime and its deceptions but reinforce fundamental untruths through the backdoor.

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  32. [...] http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/09/18/most-reported-deaths-in-syria-have-not-been-committed-by-assad-fo… [...]

  33. [...] From Antiwar: [...]

  34. [...] Syrian Observatory for Human Rights i London är ju inte precis någon oberoende och tillförlitlig källa, men t.o.m. siffror därifrån visar att den grupp som har flest dödade under Syrien-krisen är syriska armén – antiwar.com – Most Reported Deaths in Syria Have Not Been Committed by Assad Forces [...]