Just over 3,800 people died in 2022 in Syria’s civil war, the lowest figure since it started
A report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) tallies human casualties. Almost half a million people have died in more than a decade of fighting. The 2022 death toll includes 1,627 civilians, among them 321 children, while some 209 died from landmines or unexploded ordnance. For SOHR director Rami Abdel Rahman, the deaths are largely linked to the country’s chaotic situation and lack of security.
Damascus (AsiaNews) – At least 3,825 people died in Syria in 2022 in connection with the country’s civil war, this according to a report by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
Although a substantial number, this is by far the lowest figure since the first protests broke out during the Arab Spring in March 2011, eventually morphing into a proxy war between regional and world powers.
SOHR has a well-developed network of informants across the country, and has become one of the most important sources of information in the Arab country.
Over the past decade, almost half a million people have died as a result of the war, crippling the country’s economy and destroying much of its infrastructure.
Casualties are down in 2022 because Syria’s Russian-backed government has ceased major operations from the air against rebel and jihadi forces.
Russia’s progressive disengagement, at least militarily, is linked to the war Moscow launched last February against Ukraine, and trend that is likely to continue.
Meanwhile, bilateral relations between Syria and Turkey have intensified in recent weeks, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ready to launch an offensive in the north while seeking an understanding with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad.
Among the casualties in 2022, 1,627 are civilians, including 321 children. At least 209 people, half of them minors, died from anti-personnel mines or unexploded ordnance.
According to SOHR, Syria’s military lost 627 soldiers, plus 217 fighters from loyalist militias, while the Islamic State lost 562 fighters. Another 387 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces and affiliates also died, plus 240 fighters from opposition factions.
By comparison, 2014 saw the highest number of deaths with approximately 111,000.
The intensity of the fighting has gradually decreased over the past two years in several areas, especially Idlib, a province in north-western Syria, where Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) controls about half of the territory and has signed a ceasefire that has held up despite occasional fighting.
For SOHR director Rami Abdel Rahman, most of the deaths are linked to the country’s chaotic situation and a lack of security.
People have also died in Israeli raids and attacks by the Islamic State, which is still active through small cells or lone wolves.
Large areas, including farmland and oil and gas fields, are still outside government control, particularly in the Kurdish northeast, parts of Idlib governorate and the Turkish-controlled buffer zone in the north.
For some governments, fewer deaths are a positive sign that the country is pacified and safe enough for the return of millions of refugees who left during the darkest years of the war.
Many NGOs and human rights groups have challenged this view, noting that the situation on the ground does not warrant the return of people already forced to live in extremely difficult circumstances.
What is more, former rebels and opponents who have decided to return counting on an apparent "reconciliation” often end up detained, go missing or are victims of violence.
In recent years, more than fighting, harm has come from international sanctions and the US Caesar Act, with the civilian population paying the price of unfair collective punishment, endless suffering, and the poverty bomb.