Death toll in Syria likely as high as 120,000 - group

BEIRUT Tue May 14, 2013 8:05pm IST

A Free Syrian Army fighter mourns near the grave of his comrade who died in what the Free Syrian Army said were clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Qusair town near Homs March 25, 2013. Picture taken March 25, 2013. REUTERS/Trad al-Zouhouri//Shaam News Network/Handout/Files

A Free Syrian Army fighter mourns near the grave of his comrade who died in what the Free Syrian Army said were clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Qusair town near Homs March 25, 2013. Picture taken March 25, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Trad al-Zouhouri//Shaam News Network/Handout/Files

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - At least 94,000 people have been killed during Syria's two-year conflict, but the death toll is likely to be as high as 120,000, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday.

The group said that at least 41,000 of those confirmed killed were Alawites, the sect of President Bashar al-Assad.

Rami Abdulrahman, the head of the Observatory, said that the Alawite death figures were confirmed by eight different Alawite sources in coastal cities and in Homs.

Syria's conflict started as peaceful protests against the four-decade rule of the Assad family but turned into civil war, pitting the Sunni majority against minorities, in particular the Alawites, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.

"We believe the real figure of those killed from both sides is above 120,000 because both sides are being discreet on their casualties," Abdulrahman said.

(Reporting by Mariam Karouny; editing by Mike Collett-White)

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