[Marxism] As we suspected: Real figure for Syrians killed close to half a million
mkaradjis at gmail.com
Thu Feb 11 05:07:34 MST 2016
(In fact, just a few days ago, Michael Kilo, long-term dissident, and
Christian, and former Syrian Opposition Coalition leader, claimed the
real figure was 1 million killed:
Report on Syria conflict finds 11.5% of population killed or injured
Exclusive Syrian Centre for Policy Research says 470,000 deaths is twice
UN’s figure with ‘human development ruined’ after 45% of population is
Ian Black Middle East editor
Thursday 11 February 2016 11.01 AEDT Last modified on Thursday 11
February 2016 22.51 AEDT
Syria’s national wealth, infrastructure and institutions have been
“almost obliterated” by the “catastrophic impact” of nearly five years
of conflict, a new report has found. Fatalities caused by war, directly
and indirectly, amount to 470,000, according to the Syrian Centre for
Policy Research (SCPR) – a far higher total than the figure of 250,000
used by the United Nations until it stopped collecting statistics 18
In all, 11.5% of the country’s population have been killed or injured
since the crisis erupted in March 2011, the report estimates. The number
of wounded is put at 1.9 million. Life expectancy has dropped from 70 in
2010 to 55.4 in 2015. Overall economic losses are estimated at $255bn
The stark account of the war’s toll came as warnings multiplied about
Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, which is in danger of being cut off by a
government advance aided by Russian airstrikes and Iranian militiamen.
The Syrian opposition is demanding urgent action to relieve the
suffering of tens of thousands of civilians.
The International Red Cross said on Wednesday that 50,000 people had
fled the upsurge in fighting in the north, requiring urgent deliveries
of food and water.
Talks in Munich on Thursday between the US secretary of state, John
Kerry, and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, will be closely
watched for any sign of an end to the deadly impasse. UN-brokered peace
talks in Geneva are scheduled to resume in two weeks but are unlikely to
do so without a significant shift of policy.
Speaking in London on Wednesday, an opposition spokesman, Salim
al-Muslet, said President Barack Obama could stop the Russian attacks.
“If he is willing to save our children it is really the time now to say
‘no’ to these strikes in Syria,” he said. The Washington Post reported
that Moscow had sent a letter to Washington proposing to stop bombing on
Of the 470,000 war dead counted by the SCPR, about 400,000 were directly
due to violence, while the remaining 70,000 fell victim to lack of
adequate health services, medicine, especially for chronic diseases,
lack of food, clean water, sanitation and proper housing, especially for
those displaced within conflict zones.
“We use very rigorous research methods and we are sure of this figure,”
Rabie Nasser, the report’s author, told the Guardian. “Indirect deaths
will be greater in the future, though most NGOs [non-governmental
organisations] and the UN ignore them.
“We think that the UN documentation and informal estimation
underestimated the casualties due to lack of access to information
during the crisis,” he said.
In statistical terms, Syria’s mortality rate increase from 4.4 per
thousand in 2010 to 10.9 per thousand in 2015.
The UN high commissioner for human rights – which manages conflict death
tolls – stopped counting Syria’s dead in mid-2014, citing lack of access
and diminishing confidence in data sources.
The SCPR was based until recently in Damascus and research for this and
previous reports was carried out on the ground across Syria. It is
careful not to criticise the Syrian government or its allies – Iran,
Hezbollah, Russia. And with the exception of Islamic State, it refers
only to “armed groups” seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
But despite the neutral tone the findings are shocking.
In an atmosphere of “coercion, fear and fanaticism”, blackmail, theft
and smuggling have supported the continuation of armed conflict so that
the Syrian economy has become “a black hole” absorbing “domestic and
external resources”.Oil production continues to be an “important
financial resource” for Isis and other armed groups, it says.
Consumer prices rose 53% last year. But suffering is unevenly spread.
“Prices in conflict zones and besieged areas are much higher than
elsewhere in the country and this boosts profit margins for war traders
who monopolise the markets of these regions,” it says. Employment
conditions and pay have deteriorated and women work less because of
security concerns. About 13.8 million Syrians have lost their source of
“The common characteristics across all regions are lack of security, the
allocation of all resources to the fighting, the creation of
violence-related job opportunities and imposition of authority by
The shrinking of the population by 21% helps explain the waves of
refugees reaching Turkey and Europe. In all, 45% of the population have
been displaced, 6.36 million internally and more than 4 million abroad.
Health, education and income standards have all deteriorated sharply.
Poverty increased by 85% in 2015 alone.
The report notes that the rest of the world has been slow to wake up to
the dimensions of the crisis. “Despite the fact that Syrians have been
suffering for … five years, global attention to human rights and dignity
for them only intensified when the crisis had a direct impact on the
societies of developed countries.”
The conflict “continues to destroy the social and economic fabric of the
country with the intensification of international interventions that
deepen polarisation among Syrians. Human development, rights and dignity
have been comprehensively ruined.”
The report is entitled Confronting Fragmentation. Previous titles in the
series track the unfolding of the world’s biggest humanitarian disaster:
Syrian Catastrophe, War on Development, Squandering Humanity, and
Alienation and Violence.
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