Damascus: In what signals a steep escalation in Syrian civil war, March 2013 turned out to be the deadliest month so far with death toll pegged at 6000, said a key activist group.
The toll reached a high mark because of increased shelling and clashes in and around the capital Damascus, Homs and Aleppo, said a British based rights group.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights further said that the actual toll may be higher than 6000 as both – the regime and the rebels were "hiding information".
March victims included 298 children, 291 women, 1,486 rebel fighters and army defectors and 1,464 government soldiers and the rest were unidentified civilians and fighters, said the group.
The head of the group Rami Abdul-Rahman told a news agency, ""It is very difficult to get correct info on the fighters because they don`t want the information to hurt morale."
That toll solidly beat the second most deadly month, when airstrikes, clashes and shelling killed more than 5,400 people in August 2012, Abdul-Rahman said.
The government does not provide death tolls for the civil war.
Other than Aleppo and Damascus, which are the hotbeds of clashes, recent weeks also saw rebels in Daraa increasing their military equipments and succeeding in seizing government regions.
British-based group`s head said many deaths go unreported by the government or rebel fighters and that there are tens of thousands detained in regime and rebel prisons whose fates are not known.
More than 70,000 people have been killed in over two years of conflict in Syria, according to an estimate by the United Nations in February.
With Agency Inputs