DAMASCUS: The death toll in Syria’s civil war has topped 136,000 after January saw one of the conflict’s bloodiest months as violence claimed yet more civilian lives.
The prospects of a peaceful outcome looked dim after 10 days of talks in Geneva yielded no tangible results and the regime said it was unsure whether it would return to the negotiating table.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll at the end of January was at least 136,227.
The Britain-based group’s director, Rami Abdel Rahman, said “January was among the bloodiest months since the beginning of the conflict” in March 2011.
Among the dead were 47,998 civilians, including more than 7,300 children.
The Observatory said the real toll could be much higher because of the extreme secrecy of rebels, jihadists and the regime about casualty figures.
The conflict began after a regime crackdown on peaceful anti-government demonstrations, sparking an armed uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
In addition to the dead and a much larger number of wounded, millions of people have been displaced internally and as refugees.
There was no let-up in the bloodshed on Saturday, with at least 46 civilians killed by helicopter-borne barrel bombs dropped on the northern city of Aleppo, the Observatory said.
Abdel Rahman said that among the victims were “33 civilians in the Tareq al-Bab area” alone.
At least another seven people died in a double car bombing carried out by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant targeting a rebel headquarters in Aleppo.