More than 306,000 civilian were killed in Syria between March 2011 and March 2021, according to new estimates released June 28 by the United Nations Human Rights Council. According to the latest findings, civilians represent an overwhelming majority of the estimated 350,209 total deaths identified since the start of the civil conflict.
In a statement, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet condemned the violence and emphasized the severity of the situation, saying:
The conflict-related casualty figures in this report are not simply a set of abstract numbers, but represent individual human beings. The impact of the killing of each of these 306,887 civilians would have had a profound, reverberating impact on the family and community to which they belonged… And let me be clear: 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, which remain to be assessed.
According to the report, these numbers indicate that more than 1% of Syria’s pre-war population has been killed as a result of the conflict. This is compounded by estimates from the World Bank that more than half the country’s pre-war population has been displaced. According to the World Bank, prior to the war “extreme poverty in Syria ($1.90 2011 PPP [purchasing power parity] per day) was virtually inexistent. It is now affecting more than 50 percent of the population.”
From Jurist, June 28. Used with permission.
Note: Other sources have placed the figure for total deaths in the Syrian war as high as 500,000. Not included in the new figures are those detained and “exterminated” by regime forces, which may be as many as 100,000. The Assad regime is now credibly accused of genocide.
See our last report on the dilemmas of arriving at a body count in Syria
Photo of Aleppo ruins from UNHCR