List of non-international armed conflicts

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The following is a list of non-international armed conflicts, fought between territorial and/or intervening state forces and non-state armed groups or between non-state armed groups within the same state or country.[1] The terms "intrastate conflict", "internecine conflict", "internal conflict" and "civil war" are often used interchangeably with "non-international armed conflict", but "internecine war" can be used in a wider meaning, referring to any conflict within a single state, regardless of the participation of civil state or non-state forces. Thus, any war of succession is by definition an internecine war, but not necessarily a non-international armed conflict.


The Latin term bellum civile, meaning in English, civil war, was used to describe wars within a single community beginning around 60 A.D. The term is an alternative title for the work sometimes called Pharsalia by Lucan (Marcus Annaeus Lucanus) about the Roman civil wars that began in the last third of the second century BC.[2] The term civilis here had the very specific meaning of 'Roman citizen'. Since the 17th century, the term has also been applied retroactively to other historical conflicts where at least one side claims to represent the country's civil society (rather than a feudal dynasty or an imperial power).[3]

Since 1949, the term "non-international armed conflict" has been widely used to refer to armed conflict between territorial and/or intervening state forces and non-state armed groups or between non-state armed groups within the same state or country, instead of civil war.[1] The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)'s Arms Unit, Kathleen Lawand, stated "The ICRC generally avoids using the term 'civil war' when communicating with the parties to an armed conflict or publicly, and speaks instead of 'non-international' or 'internal' armed conflicts, as these expressions mirror the terms used in common Article 3 [of the 1949 Geneva Conventions]."[4]

Ongoing non-international armed conflicts[edit]

Somali civil war map, showing control of the land by warring factions.

The following non-international armed conflicts are ongoing as of April 2023. Only ongoing conflicts which meet the definition of a non-international armed conflict are listed. See List of ongoing armed conflicts and lists of active separatist movements for lists with a wider scope.

Past non-international armed conflicts[edit]

Ancient and early medieval (before 1000)[edit]

This is a list of intrastate armed conflicts. Note that some conflicts lack both an article or citation. Without citation, they have not been guaranteed to have happened.

Medieval (1000–1600)[edit]

Early modern (1600–1800)[edit]

Modern (1800–1945)[edit]

Since 1945[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Some historians name the 1861–1865 war the "Second American Civil War", because in their view, the American Revolutionary War can also be considered a civil war (since the term can be used in reference to any war in which one political body separates itself from another political body). They then refer to the Independence War, which resulted in the separation of the Thirteen Colonies from the British Empire, as the "First American Civil War".[9][10] A significant number of American colonists stayed loyal to the British Crown and as Loyalists fought on the British side while opposite were a significant amount of colonists called Patriots who fought on the American side. In some localities, there was fierce fighting between Americans including gruesome instances of hanging, drawing, and quartering on both sides.[11][12][13][14]
    • As early as 1789, David Ramsay, an American patriot historian, wrote in his History of the American Revolution that "Many circumstances concurred to make the American war particularly calamitous. It was originally a civil war in the estimation of both parties."[15] Framing the American Revolutionary War as a civil war is gaining increasing examination.[16][17][18][1]. You can read part two of his 1789 book in full here
    • A group of Bristol, England merchants wrote to King George III in 1775 voicing their “most anxious apprehensions for ourselves and Posterity that we behold the growing distractions in America threaten” and ask for their majesty’s “Wisdom and Goodness” to save them from “a lasting and ruinous Civil War.”[2]. You can read the 1775 petition in full here
    • The “constrained voice” is a good synopsis of how the British viewed the American Revolutionary War. From anxiety to a foreboding sense of the conflict being a civil war,[3]
    • In the early stages of the rebellion by the American colonists, most of them still saw themselves as English subjects who were being denied their rights as such. “Taxation without representation is tyranny,” James Otis reportedly said in protest of the lack of colonial representation in Parliament. What made the American Revolution look most like a civil war, though, was the reality that about one-third of the colonists, known as loyalists (or Tories), continued to support and fought on the side of the crown.[4]
  2. ^ The Revolution was both an international conflict, with Britain and France vying on land and sea, and a civil war among the colonists, causing over 60,000 loyalists to flee their homes.[5]
    • France entered the American Revolution on the side of the colonists in 1778, turning what had essentially been a civil war into an international conflict.[6]
    • Until early in 1778 the conflict was a civil war within the British Empire, but afterward it became an international war as France (in 1778) and Spain (in 1779) joined the colonies against Britain. Meanwhile, the Netherlands, which provided both official recognition of the United States and financial support for it, was engaged in its own war against Britain.[7]


  1. ^ a b c "Categorization of an armed conflict". United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
  2. ^ "Lucan | Roman author". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-07-02.
  3. ^ OED: "war between the citizens or inhabitants of a single country, state, or community". Early use of the term in reference to neither the Roman Republic nor the English Civil War include the War in the Vendée (1802) and the civil war in Portugal ( 1835, 1836).
  4. ^ "Internal conflicts or other situations of violence – what is the difference for victims?". International Committee of the Red Cross. December 10, 2012.
  5. ^ Bøgh, Anders (26 May 2015). "The Civil War periode 1131–1157". (in Danish). Aarhus Universitet. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  6. ^ Early Modern Wars 1500–1775. Amber. 2013. ISBN 9781782741213.
  7. ^ F. Warner, 1768
  8. ^ Milner-Gulland, R. R.; Dejevsky, Nikolai J. (1989). Atlas of Russia and the Soviet Union. Phaidon atlases of world civilizations. Phaidon. p. 108. ISBN 9780714825496. Retrieved 2014-02-11. 1774 [...] the civil war against Pugachov reached its climax.
  9. ^ Eric Herschthal. America's First Civil War: Alan Taylor's new history poses the revolution as a battle inside America as well as for its liberty Archived 2017-06-26 at the Wayback Machine, The Slate, September 6, 2016.
  10. ^ James McAuley. Ask an Academic: Talking About a Revolution Archived 2018-01-07 at the Wayback Machine, The New Yorker, August 4, 2011.
  11. ^ Thomas Allen. Tories: Fighting for the King in America's First Civil War. New York, Harper, 2011.
  12. ^ Peter J. Albert (ed.). An Uncivil War: The Southern Backcountry During the American Revolution. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1985.
  13. ^ Alfred Young (ed.). The American Revolution: Explorations in the History of American Radicalism. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1976.
  14. ^ Armitage, David. Every Great Revolution Is a Civil War Archived 2013-12-03 at the Wayback Machine. In: Keith Michael Baker and Dan Edelstein (eds.). Scripting Revolution: A Historical Approach to the Comparative Study of Revolutions. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015. According to Armitage, "The renaming can happen relatively quickly: for example, the transatlantic conflict of the 1770s that many contemporaries[who?] saw as a British "civil war" or even "the American Civil War" was first called "the American Revolution" in 1776 by the chief justice of South Carolina, William Henry Drayton."
  15. ^ David Ramsay. The History of the American Revolution Archived 2018-07-27 at the Wayback Machine. 1789.
  16. ^ Elise Stevens Wilson. Colonists Divided: A Revolution and a Civil War Archived 2016-10-17 at the Wayback Machine, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
  17. ^ Timothy H. Breen. The American Revolution as Civil War Archived 2017-06-24 at the Wayback Machine, National Humanities Center.
  18. ^ 1776: American Revolution or British Civil War? Archived 2018-07-27 at the Wayback Machine, University of Cambridge.
  19. ^ Afghanistan report by Human Rights Watch, March 2004
  20. ^ Knut Dörmann, Laurent Colassis. "International Humanitarian Law in the Iraq Conflict" (PDF). International Committee of the Red Cross. p. 20.

Further reading[edit]

  • Arnold, Guy. Historical dictionary of civil wars in Africa (1999) online
  • Collier, Paul, and Nicholas Sambanis, eds. Understanding Civil War: Europe, Central Asia, and other regions (World Bank Publications, 2005) online.
  • Davis, Morris, ed. Civil wars and the politics of international relief: Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean (1975) online
  • Dixon, Jeffrey S., and Meredith Reid Sarkees. A Guide to Intra-state Wars: An Examination of Civil, Regional, and Intercommunal Wars, 1816-2014 (CQ Press, 2015). online
  • Fearon, James. "Why Do Some Civil Wars Last So Much Longer than Others?" Journal of Peace Research (2004) 41, 3:275-302.
  • Kalyvas, Stathis N. The Logic of Violence in Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2006).
  • Kohn, George Childs. Dictionary of Wars (3rd ed. Facts on File, 2007) online
  • Krause, Volker, and Susumu Suzuki. "Causes of Civil War in Asia and Sub‐Saharan Africa: A Comparison." Social Science Quarterly 86.1 (2005): 160-177. online
  • Mason, T. David, and Patrick J. Fett. "How civil wars end: A rational choice approach." Journal of conflict resolution 40.4 (1996): 546-568.
  • Miller, John. A brief history of the English Civil Wars (2009) online
  • Montalvo, J. G., & Reynal-Querol, M. "Ethnic polarization, potential conflict, and civil wars" American Economic Review (2005) 95(3), 796-816.
  • Phillips, Charles, and Alan Axelrod, eds. Encyclopedia of Wars (3 vol, Facts on File, 2004), includes many civil wars.
  • Sambanis, Nicholas. "Do Ethnic and Nonethnic Civil Wars Have the Same Causes? A Theoretical and Empirical Inquiry" Journal of Conflict Resolution (2001). 45(3), 259-282.
  • Sambanis, Nicholas. "What is Civil War? Conceptual and Empirical Complexities of an Operational Definition" Journal of Conflict Resolution (2004). 48(6), 814-858.
  • Stapleton, Timothy J., ed. Modern African Conflicts: An Encyclopedia of Civil Wars, Revolutions, and Terrorism (ABC-CLIO, 2022).
  • Sundar, Aparna, and Nandini Sundar, eds. Civil wars in South Asia: State, sovereignty, development (SAGE Publications India, 2014) online.