Middle East

Over 8,000 regime forces killed in Syria: military hospital

Syrian army honor guards carry the coffins of comrades, during a funeral procession on August 30, 2012 at Damascus' Tishrin military hospital. (AFP PHOTO/JOSEPH EID)

DAMASCUS: More than 8,000 members of the security forces have been killed since Syria's anti-regime uprising broke out in March 2011, the director of the capital's Tishrin military hospital said Thursday.

"I estimate that at least 8,000 soldiers and members of the security forces have been killed since the beginning of the crisis," the director, a doctor who also holds the rank of general, said on condition of not being named.

"Every day, we receive an average of 15 to 20 bodies of soldiers and members of security forces, with the numbers increasing since the beginning of the year," he told an AFP reporter.

Tishrin received 47 bodies Wednesday, but in late July -- when fighting raged in the capital as the rebels trying to seize control -- "we received more than 100 people daily for three days," the doctor said.

"Approximately 70 percent of military casualties are transported to our hospital and the rest are sent to hospitals in other provinces," he added.

Around 60 percent of the victims were killed by gunfire, while 35 percent died in explosions, including anti-tank rockets, and five percent were "slaughtered or beheaded," according to the general.

The number of wounded was "somewhat higher," the general said, without giving an exact figure. He noted, however, that the vast majority of injuries were to the legs and arms.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, nearly 6,500 soldiers and members of the security forces have been killed over the past 17 months, out of a total death toll of more than 25,000 people, mostly civilians.





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