In 2012, a year into the Syrian Civil War, we published “Syria by the numbers,” a look at the toll the conflict there was taking on its citizens.
Here were the facts then:
Of the estimated 15,000 killed, 1,012–1,178 are children; the number of internationally displaced Syrians as of June was 500,000. The UN estimate of Syrians in need of “urgent assistance” is 1 million.
Fast forward four years. The war still wages. When it first broke out, it was in the midst of the so-called Arab Spring; there was the hope that the era of unelected dictators was ending. Not so fast. Assad still stands, as do most other Middle Eastern potentates.
Syria, more than any other country engaged in the so-called Spring, has become mired in its conflict. The numbers have increased exponentially, and the conflict has, unsurprisingly, spilled over into neighboring Europe, not to mention provided a hotbed for radical Islamism. That’s what happens when people think that if they ignore something, it will just go away. If only it were that easy.
So here’s how those same numbers look now. Since the start of the war, more than:
- 470,000 people killed
- 1 million fled the country
- 5 million internally displaced
And a new figure for 2016:
- 20,000-31,500 ISIS fighters within Syrian borders*
The latter is almost the most frightening, because it shows just how out of control Syria has become and the deadly impact its having globally. Is there any chance of change? Not when one takes one last number into account — the amount of US forces there: 300 people.
*Statistics courtesy Council on Foreign Relations