Tue., January 7, 2014 1:00pm (EST)

U.N. Suspends Counting Deaths In Syria's Civil War
By Scott Neuman
Updated: 3 months ago

Syrians inspect the rubble of destroyed buildings following a Syrian government airstrike in Aleppo, Syria, in this image provided Monday that was taken by a citizen journalist.
Syrians inspect the rubble of destroyed buildings following a Syrian government airstrike in Aleppo, Syria, in this image provided Monday that was taken by a citizen journalist.
The United Nations says it can no longer verify the death toll in Syria's civil war and, as of Tuesday, will leave the figure at 100,000, where it stood in late July.

"It was always a very difficult figure," Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, tells The Associated Press.

"It was always very close to the edge in terms of how much we could guarantee the source material was accurate," he added. "And it reached a point where we felt we could no longer cross that line. So for the time being, we're not updating those figures."

The AP reports that:

"Colville said the total number of dead the U.N. had estimated was based on an exhaustive effort to verify six different figures supplied by a variety of nongovernmental organizations in the region."

" 'Over time, they've diminished in number,' he said. 'For the past year or so, it's been down to two or a maximum of three, and we simply didn't feel that it was possible for us to continue in the same way.' "

As we reported in June, the U.N. pegged the death toll at just under 93,000 since March 2011. And in November, the Oxford Research Group study reported that 11,420 children had been killed in the conflict.


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