Casualties of the Syrian Civil War

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Doctors and medical staff treating injured rebel fighters and civilians in Aleppo

Estimates of deaths in the Syrian Civil War, per opposition activist groups, vary between 133,585[1][2] and 306,270.[3] On 15 January 2015, the United Nations put out an estimate of 220,000 that had died in the war.[4]

UNICEF reported that over 500 children had been killed by early February 2012.[5][6] Another 400 children were reportedly arrested and tortured in Syrian prisons.[7][8] Both claims have been contested by the Syrian government.[9] Additionally, over 600 detainees and political prisoners died under torture.[10] The United Nations stated that by the end of April 2014, 8,803 children had been killed,[11] while the Oxford Research Group said that a total of 11,420 children died in the conflict by late November 2013.[12] By mid-April 2015, the opposition activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported the number of children killed in the conflict had risen to 11,021, while at the same time 7,049 women were also killed.[3]

Overall deaths[edit]

Total deaths over the course of the conflict in Syria (18 March 2011 – 18 October 2013)
Weekly deaths over the course of the conflict in Syria (18 March 2011 – 18 October 2013)

The number of fatalities in the conflict, according to the Syrian opposition website Syrian Martyrs, is 128,329, updated to 15 April 2015.[13] The number includes 28,789 rebels but does not include members of the government security forces or pro-government foreign combatants who have died.[14] The Syrian Martyrs number of civilian deaths is significantly higher than the ones presented by other organisations, including the UN, one reason being they record deaths even when no name is given for the reportedly killed individual.[15]

Governorate Number of deaths
Latakia 1,168
Rif Dimashq 29,448
Homs 15,947
Hama 8,618
Al-Hasakah 1,150
Daraa 11,487
Aleppo 24,569
Deir ez-Zor 7,097
Damascus 8,942
Tartus 549
Quneitra 912
Idlib 13,192
As-Suwayda 88
Ar-Raqqah 1,964
Total 125,131[13]

Other estimates range from 133,585 to 306,270. Except for the SNHR figure, which excludes pro-government and ISIS fighters,[16] all of the following totals include civilians, rebels and government forces:

Source Casualties Time period
United Nations 220,000 killed[4] 15 March 2011 – 15 January 2015
Syrian Network for Human Rights 211,000 killed[17] 15 March 2011 – 12 March 2015
Center for Documentation of Violations 133,584 killed[1][2] 15 March 2011 – 15 April 2015
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights 220,271–306,271 killed[3] 15 March 2011 – 14 April 2015

Al Jazeera journalist Nir Rosen reported that many of the deaths reported daily by activists are in fact armed insurgents falsely presented as civilian deaths, but confirmed that real civilian deaths do occur on a regular basis.[18] A number of Middle East political analysts, including those from the Lebanese Al Akhbar newspaper, have also urged caution.[19][20][21]

This was later confirmed when in late May 2012, Rami Abdulrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is one of the opposition-affiliated groups counting the number of those killed in the uprising, stated that civilians who had taken up arms during the conflict were being counted under the category of "civilians".[22][23][24]

In May 2013, SOHR stated that at least 41,000 of those killed during the conflict were Alawites.[25] By April 2015, reportedly a third of the country's 250,000 Alawites that were of fighting age had been killed.[26]

The Next Century Foundation offer an alternative analysis of casualty figures. Their calculations are made by using figures from the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria (VDC), Syrian Shuhada (Syrian Martyrs), Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Local Coordination Committees of Syria (LCC) and Damascus Centre for Human Rights from June 2012 to the present. Figures for civilian, rebel and government casualties are calculated separately and added together for an overall total.[27]

Combatant deaths[edit]

Government forces[edit]

Pro-government combatants Casualties
Syrian military and police 46,843–81,843 killed[3][28]
Shabiha and National Defense Force 31,346–45,346 killed[3][28]
Lebanese Hezbollah 682 killed[3]
Other non-Syrian militiamen 2,844 killed[3]

The non-Syrian militiamen fatalities figure includes at least: 500 Iraqi Shia militiamen,[29] 100 Iranian IRGC soldiers,[30] 62–100 Afghans,[31][32] 12 Pakistanis[32] and one member of the Lebanese Amal Movement.[33] Also, over 260 Palestinian militiamen have been killed and these include: 146 members of the Palestinian PLA, 69 PFLP–GC members, 40 Al-Quds Brigades fighters, 17 who belonged to Fatah al-Intifada, three to the PLO and three to the Palestinian Popular Committees. Four other Palestinians died while fighting in the National Defense Forces.[34][35][36][37]

Except one death (August 2011),[38] all of the Hezbollah fatalities have occurred since September 2012.[39]

In early December 2013, rebels claimed that a pro-government Russian fighter was killed in fighting in Aleppo.[40]

In addition, 1,000 civilian government officials have also been killed.[41]

Opposition forces[edit]

Due to the opposition's policy of counting rebel fighters that were not defectors as civilians[22][23][24][42] a comprehensive number of rebels killed in the conflict, thus far, has not been ascertained. In late November 2012, the opposition activist group SOHR estimated that at least 10,000 rebels had been killed, but noted the possibility of the figure being higher because the rebels, like the government, were lying about how many of their forces had died to make it look like they were winning.[43] In March 2013, SOHR stated that the actual number of killed rebels and government forces could be double the number they were already able to document.[44]

Anti-government combatants Casualties
TOTAL 68,101–139,101 killed[3][28]
Foreign fighters 28,253 killed[3]
Kurdish YPG 1,190–1,359 killed[45]

It should be noted that at least 145 rebel suicide bombers[46][47][48] and 194 rebel child soldiers[49] have been killed in the conflict.

Foreigners killed[edit]

Foreign civilians killed[edit]

Country Number of deaths
Palestinians 2,846[34]
Turkey 74[50]
Iraq 47[51][52][53][54]
Lebanon 42[51][55][56][57][58][59][60][61]
Jordan 26[51][62]
Saudi Arabia 23[51]
Somalia 15[62]
Egypt 12[51]
Libya 9[51]
Tunisia 9[51]
France 4[62]
Sudan 4[51]
United Kingdom 4[63][64][65]
Afghanistan 3[66]
Kuwait 3[51]
United States 3[51][67]
Australia 2[51]
Azerbaijan 1[51]
Belgium 1[51]
Greece 1[51]
Italy 1[68]
Japan 1[51]
Romania 1[51]
Russia 1[51]
Israel 1[51]
Yemen 1[51]
Netherlands 1[69]
Unknown 10[51]

Note: The Palestinian figure includes several hundred Palestinian combatants from both sides and not just civilians.[70] 840 of the killed Palestinians were residents of the Yarmouk Camp.[71]

Foreign opposition fighters killed[edit]

28,253 foreign opposition fighters have been killed by mid-April 2015, according to the SOHR.[3]

9,936 foreign opposition fighters were killed by late December 2013, according to the Jihadist Salafist Movement in Jordan, with the nationalities being as follows: 1,902 Tunisians, 1,807 Libyans, 1,432 Iraqis, 828 Lebanese, 821 Egyptians, 800 Palestinians, 714 Saudis, 571 Yemenis, 412 Moroccans, 274 Algerians, 202 Jordanians, 91 Omanis, 71 Kuwaitis, 42 Somalis, 30 Albanians and Caucasians, 21 Bahrainis, 9 Emiratis, 8 Qataris, 3 Sudanese and 1 Mauritanian.[72] The London-based European Centre for Syria Research put the number of Saudis killed even higher at 729 a month earlier in November 2013.[73] The jihadist movement updated the number of Jordanians killed by late May 2014 to 342,[74] although they put the figure in late October at over 250.[75]

According to Abu Omar al-Shishani, the Chechen ISIS commander, 500 militants from the Caucasus had been killed by mid-January 2014 since the start of the war.[76]

In mid-May 2015, at least 70 Lebanese fighters were reported killed in the previous several months.[77]

The nationalities of some others are as follows: 112 Azerbaijanis,[78][79] 104 Frenchmen,[80] 90 Turks,[81][82] 75 Albanians,[83] 60 Germans,[84] 54 Belgians,[85] 49 Tajiks,[86][87] 30 Dutch,[88] 27 Britons,[89][90] 21 Austrians,[91][92] 20 Bosniaks,[93][94] 18 Australians,[95][96] 18 Danes,[97][98][99] 13 Afghans,[51][100] 13 Canadians,[101] 12 Swedes,[102] 10 Americans,[103][104][105][106] 8-11 Finns,[107] 8-11 Norwegian,[108] 8 Russians,[109] 5 Malaysians,[110] 4 Israeli-Arabs,[111] 4 Maldivians,[112] 3 Chinese,[113][114] 3 Irishmen,[115][116] 3 Pakistanis,[117] 2-3 Filipinos,[118] 2 Italians,[62][119] 2 Eritreans,[117] 2 Indonesians,[112][117] 2 Kyrgyz,[120] 2 Mauritanians,[121] 2 Spaniards,[122] 2 Uzbeks,[51][123] 1 Armenian,[117] 1 Bulgarian,[123] 1 Chadian,[100] 1 Indian,[124] 1 Iranian,[117] 1 Japanese,[125] and 1 Romanian.[122]

Foreign soldiers killed[edit]

75 foreign soldiers have been killed during the conflict, mostly in the border areas with Syria.

Iraq On 2 March 2013, one Iraqi soldier was killed during clashes between Syrian rebels and government forces at a Syrian-Iraqi border crossing.[126] On 4 March 2013, 13 Iraqi soldiers were killed by unknown gunmen near the border with Syria while they were transporting 65 Syrian soldiers and government officials back to their country after they had retreated to Iraq a few days earlier. 48 of the Syrians were also killed in the attack.[127][128] On 9 June 2013, Syrian rebels attacked a southern Iraqi border post, killing one Iraqi guard and wounding two.[129] On 14 July 2013, another attack by fighters from the Syrian side of the border left one Iraqi policeman dead and five others wounded.[130]

Jordan A Jordanian soldier was killed in clashes with armed militants who were attempting to cross the border from Jordan into Syria on 22 October 2012.[131]

Lebanon On 1 February 2013, two Lebanese soldiers were killed, along with 1-2 militants, and six were wounded in clashes near the Syrian border which started after an attempt by the military to arrest an anti-Assad rebel commander, who was also killed.[132][133][134] On 28 May 2013, three Lebanese soldiers were killed in an attack on their checkpoint near the border town of Arsal by unknown militants who than fled over the border into Syria.[135] On 29 March 2014, three soldiers were killed and four wounded in a suicide bomb attack on their checkpoint near Arsal.[136] 19 soldiers were killed during the Battle of Arsal against Syrian and other foreign jihadists and a further three were captured and subsequently executed. On 19 September, two soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb near Arsal.[137] On 2 December, six soldiers were killed and one wounded in an ambush by unknown gunmen in the Tal Hamra area of Ras Baalbek, near the border with Syria.[138] On 23 January, eight soldiers were killed and 22 wounded near Ras Baalbek after their outpost near the border was attacked by ISIS. The fighting also left more than 40 militants dead.[139]

Turkey Two members of the Turkish Air Force were killed when their F-4 Phantom II military jet was shot down near the Turkish-Syrian border by the Syrian Army on 22 June 2012.[140] On 2 May 2013, one Turkish border guard policeman was killed in a clash with smugglers or rebel fighters on the border between Turkey and Syria. According to the opposition, two rebels were killed as well.[141] In March 2014, a policeman and a soldier were killed in a shootout with foreign jihadists near the border with Syria.[142] On 22 July 2014, two soldiers were killed in a clash with Kurdish fighters on the border between Turkey and Syria. Six of the Kurds were killed as well.[143] On 8 December 2014, three soldiers were killed by unknown gunmen on the border with Syria in Ceylanpinar district.[144] On 22 February, a soldier was killed in an accident during a military incursion into Syria to evacuate Turkish troops at the Tomb of Suleyman Shah.[145]

United States A U.S. Marine was killed on 1 October 2014, when the V-22 Osprey aircraft he was riding in nearly crashed into the sea while supporting air strikes against the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria, and he fell into the water.[146]

Medical workers killed[edit]







Circle frame.svg

Killings of medical workers since the start of the Syrian Civil War[147]

  Attacks by government forces (97%)
  Other attacks (3%)

A February 2015 joint report by the Center for Public Health and Human Rights of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Syrian American Medical Society asserted that "Syria is the most dangerous place in the world to be a doctor".[148] Roughly half (an estimated 15,000)[149] of Syrian doctors fled the country.[150] The government passed a law in 2012 making it illegal to render medical aid to anyone suspected to be an opposition member and Amnesty International found that doctors and medical staff also took part in torture of patients.[149]

In March 2015, Physicians for Human Rights published a report documenting the killings of 610 medical workers in Syria since the civil war began, stating that "these numbers are conservative given the difficulties in reporting during a war". 139 of these killings were directly attributable to torture and executions by government forces.[149] According to the report, 88% of the recorded attacks on hospitals and 97% of killings of medical workers were attributed to government forces.[147][151]

Médecins Sans Frontières has reported that suppliers in Syria refuse to sell essential medical supplies such as gauze and surgical threads to doctors due to government intimidation, with this being a particular problem for besieged areas.[149]

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