Following a wave of regional unrest spurred by the Arab Spring, the 15th of March, 2011, marks the date citizens of Syria took to the streets protesting the arrest of 15 students for anti-government graffiti. Days later, violent backlash from security forces triggered what would result in one of the most protracted conflicts of the 21st century. Ten years on, we look at some of the defining numbers of Syrian civil war.
11 million: More than 11 million people have been formally displaced including 6.6 million internally displaced people and 5.6 million refugees. This combined total represents half of Syria’s 2010 population in what would be the biggest displacement crisis since World War 2. Neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan took on the majority of refugees. By 2016, one quarter of Lebanon’s population of 5 million were Syrian refugees.
$117.7 billion USD: The Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) estimates that there has been US$117.7 billion worth of damage to infrastructure resulting from the Syrian conflict. This figure amounts to twice as much as Syria’s pre-conflict GDP. Around 17.5% of the country’s housing has been destroyed and widespread damage to the health and education infrastructure has impacted many of the country’s regions.
$324.5 billion USD: Syria’s accumulated losses from the conflict are at US$324.5 billion, when IEP conducted a scenario analysis that compared the GDP Syria would have achieved in the absence of war. Syria’s GP stands at 19.5 billion USD – less than 50% of its 2010 level. Projections made by the World Bank suggest it could take at least another ten years before Syria’s GDP reaches pre-conflict levels.
59%: The economic cost of violence accounts for 59% of Syria’s GDP. This number is more than any other country in the world, with Afghanistan positioned at second highest at 50% of total GDP.
60%: A record 12.4 million Syrians – nearly 60% of the population are considered food insecure, according to the World Food Programme. The drastic inflation of the Syrian pound has pushed up prices of basic necessities. Over 12.5 million Syrians face food insecurity and more than half the population relies on humanitarian aid.
162: Syria is currently ranked at 162 out of 163 states on the 2020 Global Peace Index. Since 2019, the country is no longer considered the least peaceful country in the world, with Afghanistan taking this position. However, Syria still holds the position as worst in the world in the index domain of Ongoing Conflict and the economic cost of violence.
Tragically, the death toll from the Syrian conflict is difficult to quantify. There are wide-ranging estimates that between 362,000 and more than 500,000 people have died as a result of the ongoing conflict. A decade on, the yearly death toll is consistently declining and has reached its lowest level since 2012.