REUTERS - In five years of civil war, 400,000 Syrians have been killed and another 70,000 have perished due to a lack of basics such as clean water and healthcare, the Guardian newspaper reported on Thursday.
With those injured in the conflict, that amounts to more 11 percent of the population, it said, citing the Syrian Centre for Policy Research.
About 400,000 of the deaths were directly due to violence, while 70,000 died because they didn't have proper healthcare, medicine, clean water or housing.
It said 1.9 million people had been wounded. Life expectancy has dropped from 70 in 2010 to 55.4 in 2015. Overall economic losses are estimated at $255 billion, the Guardian said.
A U.S.-led coalition is trying to destroy Islamic State militants in Syria and wants President Bashar Assad to go. But Russia and Iran are propping up Assad and oppose the opponents of Assad who are being supported by the West its Arab allies such as Saudi Arabia.
Russia reportedly said Thursday it is ready to discuss a possible ceasefire in Syria, Russian news agencies reported, citing Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov.
"We are ready to discuss the modalities of a ceasefire in Syria," TASS cited Gatilov as saying. "This is what will be talked about in Munich". Gatilov also said that peace talks could resume before Feb. 25, Interfax reported.
A Western official said Russia Thursday had made a proposal to begin a ceasefire in Syria on March 1, but that Washington has concerns about parts of it and no agreement had been reached.
In Washington, a state department envoy told Congress the United States needs to consider options in case the diplomatic push does not succeed.
Asked how soon a ceasefire could be put in place, a Russian diplomat who declined to be identified said: "Maybe March, I think so."
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