Berto Jongman: Civilian and Child (25%) Deaths in Syria

04 Inter-State Conflict, 05 Civil War, 07 Other Atrocities, 09 Terrorism, 10 Transnational Crime
Berto Jongman

Patterns of civilian and child deaths due to war-related violence in Syria: a comparative analysis from the Violation Documentation Center dataset, 2011–16

The VDC recorded 143 630 conflict-related violent deaths with complete information between March 18, 2011, and Dec 31, 2016. Syrian civilians constituted 101 453 (70·6%) of the deaths compared with 42 177 (29·4%) opposition combatants. Direct deaths were caused by wide-area weapons of shelling and air bombardments in 58 099 (57·3%) civilians, including 8285 (74·6%) civilian women and 13 810 (79·4%) civilian children, and in 4058 (9·6%) opposition combatants.

Proportions of children among civilian deaths increased from 8·9% (388 of 4254 civilian deaths) in 2011 to 19·0% (4927 of 25 972) in 2013 and to 23·3% (2662 of 11 444) in 2016. Of 7566 deaths from barrel bombs, 7351 (97·2%) were civilians, of whom 2007 (27·3%) were children.

Of 20 281 deaths by execution, 18 747 (92·4%) were civilians and 1534 (7·6%) were opposition combatants. Compared with opposition child soldiers who were male (n=333), deaths of civilian male children (n=11 730) were caused more often by air bombardments (39·2% vs 5·4%, p<0·0001) and shelling (37·3% vs 13·2%, p<0·0001) and less often by shooting (12·5% vs 76·0%, p<0·0001).