A decade of war in Syria killed over 388,000, says British human rights group

The Syrian conflict has forced more than half the country's pre-war population to flee their homes

A tractor clears the rubble following Syrian govermnet forces airstrikes in the rebel held neighborhood of Tariq a-Bab in Aleppo on September 24, 2016. - Residents in Syria's battleground city of Aleppo cowered indoors as fierce air strikes toppled buildings and killed at least 52 civilians, after diplomatic efforts to revive a ceasefire failed. (Photo by THAER MOHAMMED / AFP)
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The overall death toll from Syria's civil war has reached 388,652 since it began a decade ago this month, a war monitor said on Sunday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the figures include almost 117,388 civilians, among them more than 22,000 children.

Attacks by the Syrian regime and allied militia forces accounted for most civilian deaths, said the monitor, which relies on sources inside Syria for its reports.

The Observatory's previous tally was issued in December and stood at more than 387,000.

Observatory head Rami Abdulrahman said last year had the lowest annual death toll since the war began, with just over 10,000 deaths.

Battles slowed this year as a ceasefire held in north-western Syria and attention turned to containing the coronavirus pandemic.

The Observatory also documented at least 16,000 deaths in government prisons and detention centres since the conflict erupted in 2011 after the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

It said, however, that the real number was likely higher because its tally does not include 88,000 people believed to have died of torture in regime prisons.

Today, the Damascus government controls more than 60 per cent of Syria after a string of Russia-backed victories against extremists and rebels since 2015.

Among the regions still beyond its reach are the last rebel enclave of Idlib in the north-west, Turkish-held areas along the northern border, and north-eastern parts of the country held by US-backed Kurdish forces.

The war has forced more than half the country's pre-war population to flee their homes.

About 200,000 people are missing, according to the war monitor.