Research says 55,000 people killed in Syrian war in 2015

Research by Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 55,000 people have been killed in Syrian war in 2015

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

People gather at a mass burial for the victims purportedly killed during an artillery barrage from Syrian regime forces in Houla

Updated Jan 2, 2016

There were 2,500 children and almost 2,000 women, some of the 21,000 civilians who, according to rights group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), were killed in the war in Syria in 2015.

They were sons and daughters, mothers and fathers who had lived in Hama, Homs, Damascus and Aleppo. In Idlib, Deir az Zour and in Raqqa.

They had survived for four years of war, only to be killed in the fifth year of the Syrian conflict.

Fifty-five thousand people were killed in the war in Syria between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2015, according to research conducted by the SOHR.

But the numbers are an illusion, even if the people behind them were real.

“The numbers do not include thousands of missing detainees inside regime prisons and others who disappeared during raids and massacres by the regime”, observes the SOHR, alluding to the problem in quantifying Syria’s war dead.

Estimating those killed in the conflict is a guessing game, pockmarked by information black holes.

Almost 8 million Syrians have been displaced inside the country since 2011. There is little information on the number of Syrians who have been killed in DAESH-controlled territories, such as Raqqa or opposition held areas.

“(The dead) does not include hundreds of regime’s soldiers and pro-regime militants and supporters captured by ISIS [DAESH], Islamic fighters, Nusra Front, rebel and Islamic battalions…” notes SOHR in its report.

It is almost impossible to know the exact number of Syrians killed in violence in 2015 or to know the real figure in five years of war.

Estimates vary between 250,000 and 350,000 Syrians have been killed since the uprising against Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad began in March 2011.

But in the absence of a proper census carried out by a cohesive state, any calculation is a guessing game at best.

Not all of the fifty-five thousand people, who died in the war in Syria in 2015, were Syrian nationals.

The report tells of at least 370 Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, who were killed fighting for the regime last year.

It also reveals that 16,000 foreign fighters, including Americans and Australians, from groups such as DAESH and Nusra Front, died fighting in Syria. And up to 9,000 regime soldiers were killed by the opposition.

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers; to lose sight that the numbers were once real people. This, number fatigue can be one reason why the international media has lost interest in the war in Syria and its dead.  

But the war is only intensifying and the casualties are rising.

At least 10 countries, including the US and Russia continue to bomb civilian populated areas in Syria. In October, Russian fighter jets killed up to 375 civilians according to some reports.

Many more are thought to have been killed in US bombing raids, on DAESH-held territory.

So even if numbers released by the SOHR may not be completely accurate, the people killed in the war in Syria, were real and survived for four years to die in 2015.

Ali Mustafa - Oguz Eser - Mehmet Faruk Yuce