Death Toll in Syrian Civil War Tops 160,000: Human Rights Group

More than 160,000 people, including more than 8,000 children, have been killed in the three-year civil war in Syria, a human rights organization reported Monday — a total far higher than the last reliable count.

The figure includes civilians, members of the Syrian military, foreign fighters and rebels who rose up against the government of President Bashar Assad, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in Britain.

The United Nations reported in July that at least 100,000 people had been killed, but the U.N. stopped updating its count after that because it could not longer verify its information.

The human rights organization put its count at 162,402. That included almost 54,000 civilians, more than 37,000 Syrian soldiers, about 25,000 pro-government fighters and almost 27,000 rebels.

The civil war has pitted the rebels, who are mostly Sunni Muslims, against the Assad regime, which is dominated by the Alawite sect of Shiite Islam. Among the opposition, Islamic extremists play an increasing role.

— Erin McClam

The Associated Press contributed to this report.