Getty Images / Gokhan Sahin

The Death Toll In Syria Is As Muddled As It Is Devastating

The United Nations special envoy Staffan de Mistura estimates 400,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict since it started in 2011.

By Melissa Prax | April 23, 2016

The United Nations Syrian special envoy now estimates 400,000 people have died since the Syrian conflict started in 2011.

That number far surpasses a U.N. estimate of 250,000 deaths from a year and a half ago.

But special envoy Staffan de Mistura's estimate isn't part of official U.N. data. The organization stopped recording deaths there because accessing parts of the war-torn country has become difficult and dangerous.

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De Mistura's figure is closer to a 2015 estimate from the Syrian Center for Policy Research. Since the conflict began, it projects 470,000 Syrians have died and that 11.5 percent of the population has been killed.

But that estimate varies widely from another set of numbers released last March by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that suggests nearly 274,000 died.

No matter the number, several organizations say Syria's civil war is the biggest humanitarian crisis since the second World War.

This video includes clips from United Nations and Military Media Syria.

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