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Watchdog groups: Fewer Syrian civilians died in March

Smoke rises during a Syrian government bombing in the village of Sarmin, near Idlib in February. Two watchdog groups said fewer civilians died in March than any other time during the country's civil war, which started in 2011. Photo by Yahya Nemah/EPA-EFE
Smoke rises during a Syrian government bombing in the village of Sarmin, near Idlib in February. Two watchdog groups said fewer civilians died in March than any other time during the country's civil war, which started in 2011. Photo by Yahya Nemah/EPA-EFE

April 2 (UPI) -- Two watchdog organizations reported Wednesday the lowest civilian death totals over a one-month period in Syria since the country's deadly civil war started some nine years ago.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights said 145 civilians, including two medical professionals who were helping the wounded, died in fighting in March. On Thursday, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, put that total lower, saying 103 civilians were killed.

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Neither organization mentioned what was the record for lowest civilian deaths before March.

The Syrian Network said the Syrian government forces backed by Syria, opposition forces backed by the United States and Islamic State militants have all violated international law by killing civilians or putting them in harm's way while attacking their enemies.

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The organization called on the United Nations Security Council to step in to protect civilians and hold those who they believe have targeted civilians fleeing violence accountable.

"The report states that the Syrian regime is primarily responsible for the deaths of Syrian citizens due to the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that the Syrian regime and its Russian ally have repeatedly been documented as having targeted, bombed and destroyed most medical facilities in Syria, and killed hundreds of medical personnel," the Syrian Network said.

The Syrian Observatory also blamed Syrian government troops and its allies for the bulk of the current violence in the country.

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"Syrian Observatory activists documented that Russian and Syrian regime aircraft and regime ground forces carried out 2,802 air and ground strikes killing 51 civilians, including seven children under the age of 18, and 10 women over the age of 18," the organization said.

More than 380,000 people have died in Syria during its nine-year civil war that was sparked by the Arab Spring movement. The highest total of civilian deaths in one month was 1,590 in July 2016 when fighting in the province of Aleppo reached its peak.

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