(AP) UN decides to stop updating Syria death toll
By JOHN HEILPRIN
The U.N.’s human rights office has stopped updating the death toll from Syria’s civil war, confirming Tuesday that it can no longer verify the sources of information that led to its last count of at least 100,000 in late July.
Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, blamed the failure to provide new figures on the organization’s own lack of access on the ground in Syria and its inability to verify “source material” from others.
Colville said the total number of dead the U.N. had estimated was based on an exhaustive effort to verify six different figures supplied by a variety of nongovernmental organizations in the region.
But Colville said the U.N. could not endorse anyone else’s count, including the widely quoted figures from the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, whose latest tally is more than 130,000 killed in violence in Syria since March 2011.