FILE - In this Monday March 18, 2013 file image taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows free Syrian Army fighters fire at Syrian army soldiers during a fierce firefight in Daraa al-Balad, Syria. Syrian rebels captured a military base in the south and may be poised to seize control a strategically important region along the border with Jordan, something that would give them a critical gateway to attempt an attack on the capital Damascus. With foreign aid and training of rebels in Jordan ramping up, the opposition fighters have recaptured momentum and may also soon control Syria's side of the Golan Heights along a sensitive border with Israel. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video, File)The Associated Press
BEIRUT – A Syrian human rights group says nearly 9,000 government troops have been killed in two years of fighting between President Bashar Assad's forces and rebels trying to topple him.
The Syria-based Violations Documentation Center has been keeping track of the dead, wounded and missing since the start the uprising against Assad's rule. It said on Monday 8,785 Syrian troops have died in the fighting.
The rare report on the regime's death toll was compiled from government and opposition sources.
At the start of the revolt, authorities published names of the fallen troops daily. As the uprising turned more violent and eventually became a civil war, reports of casualties on government side vanished from the public domain.
More than 70,000 people have died since Syria's crisis erupted in March 2011.