Aletho News


The ginned-up Syrian death toll

left i on the news | July 21, 2013

Today the U.N. claims that “5000 people a month” are dying in Syria. As I have before, I have to demonstrate why I find this claim utterly non-credible. 5000/month would be 167 every single day. Now we don’t know what the standard deviation might be, but we have to assume it would be reasonably large, which would mean that some days would be much lower, while on other days, we could easily expect 300 or more to be killed in a single day, if the 5000/month were to be believable.

So let’s look at a report from today, when major battles are being reported. Looking through the article, we find (claims of) six mediators shot in Homs, eight Nusra front militants killed by Kurds, nine people killed at a checkpoint, and “several” regime fighters killed. All in all fewer than 30 were reported killed on a day when major battles are being fought. Is it remotely credible that an average of 167 are being killed every single day? Just yesterday we read about 40 people being killed in a single bombing in Iraq; when is the last time we read about an event in Syria which killed even that many people? And when was the last time we read about a day when more than 200 people died in Syria in just a single day? For my part, the answer would be: never.

I don’t know what the statistics are, and I’ll also state clearly that they make no difference whatsoever to my stand, which is: Hands off Syria! No U.S. intervention in Syria. However, because these numbers are being used (and, in my opinion, “ginned up”) to justify ever-increasing intervention in Syria, it is important to understand them, and rebut them, if they are false. Which, in my opinion, is without question.

July 21, 2013 - Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , ,

1 Comment

  1. First of all, the UN’s figures are indeed “unprofessionally sourced”, as the Syrian government put it. They are not real figures. Real figures are not available. In this particular war in Syria, many deaths are not reported, yet many other deaths that are reported are fictitious, false. Secondly, you can’t rely on newspaper reports such as Reuters to give you an impression of numbers of deaths to any good accuracy. Western news agenices at the moment are underreporting the number of deaths because they can’t verify the deaths reports. They now know that the suppliers of the reports on the opposition side of the conflict are highly unreliable sources. On the other side of the conflict, the Syrian government is not supplying information about deaths in general. The government reports deaths figures for only a very limited category of notable incidents; and it does not report most deaths; and for some important categories of deaths it does not collect the information and does not have the information. For instance nowadays the Syrian army is regularly using heavy artillery fire against the rebels in some areas from afar. When the army shells a location (which is normally an urban location, or a town) it generally does not know how many people at the location are killed. It does not know it on the day of the shelling, nor does it find out on some later day. (By the way, usually at these shelling locations the bulk of the civilian population has left the general area, but commonly there are still a smallish number of civilians in the general area who opted to not leave). Finally, neither side in the conflict is disclosing the casualty rates of its soldiers.

    All the above is simple fact. I will now venture my opinion that a figure of an average 167 people killed every day looks to me to be a little on the high side, but not grossly too high. Real figures are unavailable so everybody is entitled to his own opinion.


    Comment by Abdel Abdellater | July 22, 2013

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