What has been the real cost of Syria’s civil war?

Half a million Syrians are believed to have been killed during the conflict that now enters its sixth year – with millions more internally displaced or forced to flee the country.

Half a million Syrians have been killed in the five-year civil war. Nearly two and a half million children forced to become refugees. More than seven million forced to flee Syria including the hundreds of thousands in Europe.

The war has left families destroyed, flattened towns and cities and left generations in a state of despair.

According to the Syrian Centre for Policy Research (SCPR), up to 1.9 million Syrians have been injured, which means that more than a tenth of the population has either been killed or wounded.

The think tank estimates that 470,000 people have been killed during the civil war, almost double the UN figure of 250,000.

The UN tally is unlikely to represent the full picture because the organization stopped counting the number of those killed almost two years ago because of the difficulty in obtaining accurate figures.

Mike Noyes, head of humanitarian response at ActionAid, described how a generation has been exposed to the horrors of war.

“In the last five years, half of Syria’s pre-war population — more than 11 million people — have been killed or forced to flee their homes. At the current rate in five years’ time Syria will be all but annihilated,” he said.

Currently 13.5 million people inside Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance. An entire generation of young people have been exposed to the horrors of war and denied access to basic services such as education and healthcare.

The SCPR report from last month also highlighted the extent to which the country’s economy and infrastructure are falling apart.

Once boasting one of the highest literacy rates in the Middle East before the war, figures last year showed more than 45 per cent of children were no longer attending school. The report’s authors warned this would have a “dramatic impact” on Syria’s future.

Its total economic loss, meanwhile, is equivalent to 468 per cent of 2010’s GDP in constant prices, the report said. From its wealth and infrastructure to the population and economy, Syria has “almost all been obliterated”, the authors noted.


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