Millions displaced and a grim death toll: 10 years of the Syrian war in numbers

A look at the devastating effects of the decade-long conflict on the region and its people

A child sits on the shoulder's of a relative holding a sign that reads, ' Stop the terrorism of (Syrian Presidet) Assad' as Syrians rally to mark the 10th anniversary of the start of the war in Syria, on March 13, 2021 in Istanbul.  More than 3.6 million Syrians refugees live in Turkey as a result of the decade-long conflict in their home country. The UN rights chief on March 11, 2021 urged Syria's warring parties to disclose the location of tens of thousands of missing people, as she marked 10 grim years since the start of the war. / AFP / Yasin AKGUL

The 2011 Arab uprisings had immediate and lasting impacts on governments across the Middle East, but Syria's descent into a decade of chaos, extremism and civil war was unexpected.

The conflict tore families apart, destroyed the economy and led to the rise and fall of one of the world's most extreme terrorist groups.

Here are the numbers:

Civilian death toll

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates about 387,000 people have died since the war began in 2011.

About 100,000 people died of torture in government-run prisons and around 100,000 are still in jail, the Observatory says.

Another 200,000 people are missing, according to the war monitor.

Unemployment and poverty

The war has had a particular impact on poverty. The UN Development Programme said in July last year that 90 per cent of Syria's population was living below the poverty line.

It comes as no surprise that Syria recorded a 54 per cent unemployment rate in 2019, according to the UN's Humanitarian Needs Overview.

A record 12.4 million Syrians – nearly 60 per cent of the population – are now food insecure, new data from the UN World Food Programme found.

The Syrian pound has devalued by 98 per cent to the US dollar on the black market over the last decade. Food prices are 33 times higher compared to the five-year prewar average, the UN food agency said.

Internally displaced, again and again

Of the country's prewar population of 23 million, more than 6.7 million people have been displaced from their homes by fighting inside Syria, many living in camps after being displaced several times, the UN says.

Economic deterioration and hardship are increasingly driving Syrians out of their homes, but the number of displaced will be higher if large military operations resume, according to a report by the Norwegian Refugee Council.

The crisis has created more than five million refugees

Almost 5.6 million Syrians fled the conflict over the past 10 years, mainly seeking safety in neighbouring nations. At more than 3.5 million refugees, Turkey is hosting the largest number of Syrians, the UNHCR says.

The inflated number is largely due to a deal Turkey made with the EU in 2016, to take back migrants who arrived on the Greek islands by boat. The EU paid Turkey €6 billion ($7.15bn) for this service after more than a million refugees entered Europe, often in ramshackle boats from Turkey and North Africa, the year before. Thousands have died while attempting to make the journey to safety in the EU.

Lebanon, a small Mediterranean country with a population of about five million, hosts the highest concentration of refugees per capita, estimated at around one million. Most of them live in informal makeshift tent settlements spread out across Lebanon's Bekaa region, not far from the Syrian border.

Iraq and Jordan have also taken in huge numbers of refugees. Click the blue pins on the map above to see how many they are hosting.

As the years pass, many Syrians are beginning to put down roots in the nations they have fled to. More than one million Syrian refugee children have been born in exile since 2011.

The toll on children and young people

Almost 12,000 children have been killed in the conflict so far, lives tragically cut short by air strikes and ground fighting.

"That’s one child every eight hours over the past 10 years," said Unicef's Representative in Syria, Bo Viktor Nylund on Saturday. "As we all know, these are children that the UN was able to verify as having been killed or injured, and the actual numbers are likely to be much higher."

Life is incredibly difficult for those left behind. Many miss out on an education, live with hunger and more 5,700 children have been made to fight.

Inside Syria, there are 6.1 million children in need of assistance – that is 90 per cent of Syrian children, Unicef's Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Ted Chaiban said last week.

A UNHCR survey of 1,400 Syrians between the ages of 18-25 in Syria, Lebanon and Germany found that 16 per cent had at least one parent killed or seriously injured, and 12 per cent had themselves been injured in the conflict.

Education has also been effected. More than half (57 per cent) reported missing years of school, if they went at all.

A third of schools are in ruins or have been commandeered by fighters, Unicef said.

Path to peace

Attempts to bring the conflict to an end have thus far been futile, despite the UN Security Council adopting 23 resolutions on or largely related to Syria since 2012.

There have also been eight rounds of peace talks between 150 representatives of the Syrian government, opposition groups and civil society.

UN special envoy Geir Pedersen reiterated his disappointment to the council last month that after five rounds of preliminary discussions aimed at revising Syria's constitution, there has been no progress, hinting that the Syrian government delegation was to blame.

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