UN: More Than 300,000 Civilians Killed in Syria's Conflict

The figures do not include soldiers and insurgents killed in Syria's bloody 11-year conflict, nor do they include people who were killed and then buried by their families without notifying authorities

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Residents walk through the destruction of the once rebel-held Salaheddine neighborhood in the eastern Aleppo, Syria in 2017
Residents walk through the destruction of the once rebel-held Salaheddine neighborhood in the eastern Aleppo, Syria in 2017Credit: Hassan Ammar /AP

The first 10 years of Syria’s conflict, which began in 2011, killed more than 300,000 civilians, the United Nations said Tuesday — the highest official estimate to date of conflict-related civilian deaths in the country.

Syria's conflict began with anti-government protests that broke out in March 2011 in different parts of the country, demanding democratic reforms following Arab Spring protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya and Bahrain that removed some Arab leaders who had been in power for decades. However, it quickly turned into a full-blown civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands and destroyed large parts of the country.

Tuesday’s report published by the UN Human Rights Office followed what it said were rigorous assessment and statistical analysis of available data on civilian casualties. According to the report, 306,887 civilians are estimated to have been killed in Syria between March 1, 2011, and March 31, 2021, because of the conflict.

The figures released by the UN do not include soldiers and insurgents killed in the conflict; their numbers are believed to be in the tens of thousands. The numbers also do not include people who were killed and buried by their families without notifying authorities.

“These are the people killed as a direct result of war operations. This does not include the many, many more civilians who died due to the loss of access to healthcare, to food, to clean water and other essential human rights,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

The report, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, cited 143,350 civilian deaths individually documented by various sources with detailed information, including at least their full name, date and location of death.

Also, statistical estimation techniques were used to connect the dots where there were missing elements of information. Using these techniques, a further 163,537 civilian deaths were estimated to have occurred.

“The conflict-related casualty figures in this report are not simply a set of abstract numbers, but represent individual human beings,” Bachelet said. She added that the work of civil society organizations and the UN in monitoring and documenting conflict-related deaths is key in helping families and communities establish the truth, seek accountability and pursue effective remedies.

The estimate of 306,887 means that on average, every single day, for the past 10 years, 83 civilians suffered violent deaths due to the conflict, the report said. It was based on eight sources of information — including the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies, the Center for Statistics and Research-Syria, the Syrian Network for Human Rights, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Violations Documentation Center.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed

AIPAC

AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them