OHCHR Announces That 306,887 Civilians Were Killed in Syria Conflict Between March 2011 and March 31, 2021
On Tuesday, June 28, 2022, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published a report in which it indicated that at least 306,887 civilians were killed from the start of the popular uprising in Syria in March 2011 up until March 31, 2021, including 27,126 children and 26,727 females. The report noted that the largest number of killings was documented in Aleppo governorate, followed by Damascus Suburbs, Homs, Idlib, then Hama, confirming that 1.5 percent of the total population of Syria had been killed since the start of the popular uprising in March 2011.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet stated that “these are the people killed as a direct result of war operations. This does not include the many, many more civilians who died due to the loss of access to healthcare, to food, to clean water and other essential human rights, which remain to be assessed.”
The OHCHR has issued statistical analyzes of the death toll in the conflict in Syria during the first years of the conflict. This has had a significant impact on putting pressure on decision-makers to act in order to end the conflict and end the bloodshed.
Since 2011, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) has documented on a daily basis the extrajudicial killings of civilian victims, which are classified as violations of either international humanitarian law or international human rights law, or of both. In addition, the SNHR has built a detailed database that includes the names of the victims and other related materials, such as photos and videos, as well as providing details of the location and time of each documented killing, the party that carried out the killing, and other information. We have also signed numerous agreements with international and UN bodies to share this data in order to serve the processes of advocacy, accountability, and saving and cataloging the victims’ history of events.
The SNHR has shared all the casualties’ data that we have documented with the OHCHR over the past decade, because we believe that the OHCHR’s work is essential in helping to ensure justice for the victims who were killed in Syria, because of its ability to put this issue on the agenda of decision-makers, including the permanent members of the Security Council, and in demanding an end to the killings, ensuring that the perpetrators be held accountable, and ensuring that serious steps are taken to resolve the armed conflict, which has left such a huge number of civilian casualties.
Fadel Abdul Ghany, SNHR’s Director, says:
“We attach great importance to cooperation and coordination with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the issue of extrajudicial killings in Syria, and we greatly appreciate the efforts made to serve the victims and shed light on their ongoing suffering. According to the SNHR’s data, the air forces owned by the Syrian regime and Russia have inflicted the largest number of killings in Syria, accounting for 70% to 75% of the total civilian casualties.”
After issuing this horrifying statistic on civilian casualties, the international community must move urgently to take effective steps towards achieving a political transition towards democracy, and all the countries that support the Syrian regime with money and weapons must stop providing it with any additional payments or arms shipments, in order to force it to submit to a political solution. We at the SNHR stress that the killings in Syria by the Syrian regime and Russia constitute crimes against humanity, because they are systematic, as well as widespread, and that their recurrence over the years has proven to be a central policy of the Syrian regime’s. In addition, the other parties to the conflict have committed extrajudicial killings, some of which constitute war crimes. All countries worldwide must ratify the Geneva Conventions on combating crimes against humanity and war crimes in Syria.