For Syrian civilians, regime still the biggest threat

It was rush hour on a Sunday, the first day of Syria's working week, when the bomb landed in the middle of the bustling crowd in the rebel-held city of Douma. A second bomb followed, allegedly dropped once people had had time to gather to assess the damage from the first. At least 80 people were killed and hundreds more injured.

These airstrikes by government warplanes graphically illustrate why President Bashar al-Assad's regime remains, for many Syrian civilians at least, the biggest threat to their lives.

While the United States may be focussing its bombing campaign against the so-called Islamic State, the Islamist militants are actually only responsible for a fraction of the civilian deaths in Syria.

According to data gathered by the Syrian Network for Human Rights, which documents deaths inside Syria, three-quarters of the civilian fatalities this year were caused by the government, which remains the only Syrian fighting group with warplanes. The government has dropped unguided 'barrel bombs' on population centres, killing people indiscriminately, according to Amnesty International and other rights groups.

Syrian Civilian Deaths by Month (2015)

Among the more than 10,300 Syrian civilian deaths that have been recorded for 2015, nearly a third have been women and children. The total is more than 3,200, with government forces killing more than 2,500.

Syrian Civilians Killed (Jan-Jul 2015)

More than 200,000 Syrians have been killed since the start of the country's civil war in 2011, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

By Emmeline Booth