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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Deaths, Refugees And Damage: Syria’s Crisis In Figures

DAMASCUS (AFP) – More than 110,000 people have been killed, more than six million uprooted and Syria’s economy devastated in the two and a half years since its bloody conflict began.

Key figures follow on the casualties and damage in the conflict, which started in March 2011 with peaceful protests for reform as Arab Spring revolts rocked Tunisia and Egypt, but soon escalated into civil war.

According to a Syrian Observatory for Human Rights toll published on Sunday, at least 110,371 people have been killed. In late July, the United Nations put the toll at more than 100,000.

The toll from the Britain-based Observatory, which relies on activists, doctors and lawyers on the ground for its information, includes 40,146 civilians, 21,850 rebel fighters and 45,478 regime forces, including pro-regime militias.

Among the civilians are 3,905 women and 5,833 children aged less than 16.

The NGO says that the fate of 9,000 prisoners and 3,500 soldiers captured by rebels remains unknown.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said on Tuesday that more than two million Syrians have fled Syria and some 4.2 million have been displaced internally.

More than 720,000 Syrian refugees were registered or being registered in Lebanon, a country of some 4.5 million people, UN refugee chief Antonio Guterres said when unveiling the figures.

An additional 515,000 refugees are in Jordan, 460,000 in Turkey, 168,000 in Iraq and 110,000 in Egypt, according to the UN figures.

Around 52 percent of the refugee population is aged under 17.

The conflict has devastated the country, impoverished most Syrians and led to a major drop in purchasing power.

Experts say the war has plunged Syria into a severe economic crisis, fuelling record inflation which hovers around 200 percent.

Investment, tourism and external trade are close to zero. Oil production, previously a big foreign currency earner, has fallen by 95 percent.

The economy has increasingly become based on the dollar because of the fall of the Syrian Pound, which has lost three quarters of its value against the greenback.

According to a study by Syrian real estate expert Ammar Yussef in Al-Watan newspaper on Tuesday, if the war suddenly stopped and reconstruction began, around $73 billion would be needed to put the country back on track.

The report said bombings, fighting and sabotage of infrastructure had partly or completely destroyed 1.5 million homes.

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