Data collection and monitoring in Syria's conflict has been exceedingly challenging, amidst disinformation campaign and lack of access. However, the horrendous human cost of this conflict makes reliable casualty data essential to justice and accountability for war crimes.
Several sources have attempted to document this data, as the Violations Documentation Center in Syria (VDC), which recorded and reported casualties resulting from the civil war in Syria since June 2011.
As a quick test, I selected the month of my visit to Damascus in regime-controlled area (August 2015) in the VDC dataset. During two short weeks, there were nearly daily random mortar shelling from the rebel-held suburbs (Joubar and Douma) into the city. I was lucky to escape unscathed—once only narrowly. My host, a prelate from Damascus, would occasionally relay casualties from the day's shelling. Looking at the dataset for that period, none are mentioned (assuming the prelate's reports were accurate).
It is tempting to see a political agenda behind missing data. It may not be so. It does however underscore the challenges around data collection in this conflict and the need for transparency around methodology and missing information. Syrians deserve it.