[Marxism] As we suspected: Real figure for Syrians killed close to half a million

Michael Karadjis 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 
months ago.
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 
1 March.

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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