Estimates of deaths in the Syrian Civil War, per opposition activist groups, vary between 364,792 and 522,000. On 23 April 2016, the United Nations and Arab League Envoy to Syria put out an estimate of 400,000 that had died in the war (that’s dreadful, awful)
Total deaths over the course of the conflict in Syria (18 March 2011 – 18 October 2013)
Weekly deaths over the course of the conflict in Syria (18 March 2011 – 18 October 2013)
All of the following totals include civilians, rebels and government forces:
|Syrian Centre for Policy Research||470,000 killed||15 March 2011 – 11 February 2016|
|UN and Arab League Envoy to Syria||400,000 killed||15 March 2011 – 23 April 2016|
|Syrian Observatory for Human Rights||364,792–522,000 killed||15 March 2011 – 12 September 2018|
|Violations Documentation Centre||164,602 killed||15 March 2011 – 12 November 2018|
At the start of the war, Al Jazeera journalist Nir Rosen stated that many of the deaths reported daily by activists were in fact armed insurgents falsely presented as civilian deaths, but confirmed that real civilian deaths do occur on a regular basis. A number of Middle East political analysts, including those from the Lebanese Al Akhbar newspaper, also urged caution.
This was later confirmed when in late May 2012, Rami Abdulrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is one of the opposition-affiliated groups counting the number of those killed in the uprising, stated that civilians who had taken up arms during the conflict were being counted under the category of “civilians”.
In May 2013, SOHR stated that at least 41,000 of those killed during the conflict were Alawites. By April 2015, reportedly a third of the country’s 250,000 Alawites that were of fighting age had been killed. In April 2017, a pro-opposition source claimed 150,000 young Alawites had died.
Death tolls by time periods
The following figures were all compiled by the SOHR which is considered an authoritative source on the matter. The figures are only for documented deaths, while the SOHR estimates another 145,000 undocumented deaths had occurred.
|Time Period||Pro-government forces||Anti-government forces||Civilians||Grand Total (inc. unidentified)|
|2011: 7,841 killed|
2012: 49,294 killed
2013: 73,447 killed
|2014||25,160 killed||32,726 killed||17,790 killed||76,021 killed|
|2015||17,686 killed||24,010 killed||13,249 killed||55,219 killed|
|2016||14,192 killed||21,467 killed||13,617 killed||49,742 killed|
|2017||8,813 killed||13,955 killed||10,507 killed||33,425 killed|
|January 2018||599 killed||949 killed||607 killed||2,180 killed|
|February 2018||317 killed||871 killed||1,391 killed||2,595 killed|
|March 2018||935 killed||1,250 killed||1,460 killed||3,673 killed|
|April 2018||465 killed||499 killed||395 killed||1,370 killed|
|May 2018||453 killed||462 killed||244 killed||1,165 killed|
|June 2018||434 killed||588 killed||398 killed||1,443 killed|
|July 2018||481 killed||830 killed||439 killed||1,514 killed|
|August 2018||191 killed||389 killed||253 killed||840 killed|
|September 2018||239 killed||672 killed||139 killed||1,059 killed|
|October 2018||134 killed||760 killed||146 killed||1,048 killed|
|Total||122,247 killed||128,511 killed||106,755 killed||360,974 killed|
Death tolls by provinces
According to the Syrian opposition website Syrian Martyrs, the conflict’s death toll was 151,888 up to 30 April 2016, which was the time of its last update. The number includes 35,859 rebel combatants but does not include members of the government security forces or pro-government foreign combatants who have died. Early in the conflict, the Syrian Martyrs number of civilian deaths was significantly higher than the ones presented by other organisations, including the UN; among the reasons are that they recorded deaths even when no name is given for the reportedly killed individual and that they collated reports of deaths from more sources.
|Governorate||Number of deaths|
|Perpetrator||Number of killed civilians|
|Syrian government forces||198,152 killed|
|Russian forces||6,239 killed|
|Islamic State||4,889 killed|
|Other unnamed parties||4,461 killed|
|Other rebel forces||4,112 killed|
|International Coalition Forces||2,832 killed|
|Syrian Democratic Forces||1,008 killed|
|Hayat Tahrir al Sham||423 killed|
|Perpetrator||Number of killed civilians|
|Syrian government forces||85,114 killed|
|Russian forces||7,988 killed|
|Opposition forces||7,773 killed|
|International Coalition forces||3,430 killed |
|Islamic State||3,076 killed|
|Turkish forces||1,243 killed|
|Syrian military and police||64,868–99,868 killed|
|Syrian militias||50,041–64,041 killed|
|Lebanese Hezbollah||1,665–2,000 killed|
|Other non-Syrian militiamen||8,004 killed|
The non-Syrian militiamen fatalities figure includes: over 2,066 Afghans, at least 1,308 Iraqi Shia militiamen, 558 Iranians, 158 Pakistanis, one Lebanese member of the SCNP, one member of the Lebanese Amal Movement and a Saudi Shiite fighter.Other sources put the overall number of killed Iranian-lead forces, which also includes the Afghan and Pakistani militias, at between 2,500 and 3,500 by the end of August 2017. Also, more than 870 Palestinian militiamen have been killed and these include: 294 Liwa Al-Quds fighters, 245 members of the PLA, 99 PFLP–GC members, 70 Galilee Forces fighters, 35 who belonged to Fatah al-Intifada and 129 other militiamen.
Between October 2015 and December 2017, it was reported that 150–200 Russian security contractors had been killed.
In addition, 1,000 civilian government officials have also been killed.
Due to the main opposition monitor SOHR’s policy early in the conflict of counting rebel fighters that were not defectors as civilians, a comprehensive number of rebels killed in the conflict, thus far, has not been ascertained. In late November 2012, SOHR estimated that at least 10,000 rebels had been killed, but noted the possibility of the figure being higher because the rebels, like the government, were lying about how many of their forces had died to make it look like they were winning. In March 2013, SOHR stated that the actual number of killed rebels and government forces could be double the number they were already able to document.
|Kurdish YPG/YPJ||6,510 killed|
There have been 63,360 foreign rebel and ISIL fighters, at least 280 anti-government suicide bombers and 246 rebel child soldiers that have been killed in the conflict. Additionally, 48 foreign pro-Kurdish fighters died.
Foreign civilians killed
|Country||Number of deaths|
Foreign anti-government fighters killed
64,480 foreign anti-government fighters have been killed by early October 2018, according to the SOHR.
9,936 foreign opposition fighters were killed by late December 2013, according to the Jihadist Salafist Movement in Jordan, with the nationalities being as follows: 1,902 Tunisians, 1,807 Libyans, 1,432 Iraqis, 828 Lebanese, 821 Egyptians, 800 Palestinians, 714 Saudis, 571 Yemenis, 412 Moroccans, 274 Algerians, 202 Jordanians, 91 Omanis, 71 Kuwaitis, 42 Somalis, 30 Albanians and Caucasians, 21 Bahrainis, 9 Emiratis, 8 Qataris, 3 Sudanese and 1 Mauritanian. The London-based European Centre for Syria Research put the number of Saudis killed even higher at 729 a month earlier in November 2013. The jihadist movement updated the number of Jordanians killed by late May 2014 to 342, although they put the figure in late October at over 250. According to another estimate, the Jordanian toll was at least 500 by July 2016.
According to Abu Omar al-Shishani, the Chechen ISIL commander, 500 militants from the Caucasus had been killed by mid-January 2014 since the start of the war. Ramzan Kadyrov, Head of the Chechen Republic, stated in late November 2015, that 200 Chechens had died.
According to a report by a Syrian military research center, as of September 2014: 3,872 Saudi, 3,691 Chechen and 2,904 Lebanese fighters had been killed. Another 2,689 Saudi fighters were missing.
In mid-May 2015, at least 70 Lebanese fighters were reported killed in the previous several months. In late December 2015, Tunis stated 800 Tunisian ISIL fighters had been killed since the start of the war.
The nationalities of some others are as follows: 2,960 Russians, 400–450 Frenchmen, 400 Turks, 300 Azerbaijanis, 300 Tajiks, 160 Germans, 150 Kyrgyz, 143 Britons, 126 Albanians, 106 Belgians, 84 Australians, 65 Bosniaks, 50 Americans, 49 Swedes, 39 Dutch, 37 Italians, 34 Malaysians, 27 Danes, 23 Canadians, 21 Austrians, 15–20 Finns, 16 Indians, 15 Norwegians, 13 Afghans, 5 Iranians, 4 Irishmen, 4 Israeli-Arabs, 4 Maldivians, 3 Chinese, 3 Pakistanis, 2–3 Filipinos, 2 Eritreans, 2 Indonesians, 2 Mauritanians, 2 South Africans, 2 Spaniards, 2 Uzbeks, 1 Armenian, 1 Bulgarian, 1 Chadian, 1 Japanese, 1 Kazakh, 1 Romanian and 1 Slovenian.
Foreign soldiers killed
374 foreign soldiers have been killed during the conflict, mostly in the border areas with Syria.
16 servicemen killed
On 2 March 2013, one Iraqi soldier was killed during clashes between Syrian rebels and government forces at a Syrian-Iraqi border crossing. On 4 March 2013, 13 Iraqi soldiers were killed by unknown gunmen near the border with Syria while they were transporting 65 Syrian soldiers and government officials back to their country after they had retreated to Iraq a few days earlier. 48 of the Syrians were also killed in the attack. On 9 June 2013, Syrian rebels attacked a southern Iraqi border post, killing one Iraqi guard and wounding two. On 14 July 2013, another attack by fighters from the Syrian side of the border left one Iraqi policeman dead and five others wounded.
8 servicemen killed
A Jordanian soldier was killed in clashes with armed militants who were attempting to cross the border from Jordan into Syria on 22 October 2012. On 3 January 2015, ISIL burned a Jordanian military pilot alive in a metal cage. The pilot was captured after his airplane crashed near Raqqa while conducting air-strikes. Six Jordanian soldiers were killed by a car-bomb blast near the Syrian refugee camp of al-Rukban on 21 June 2016.
60 servicemen killed
On 1 February 2013, two Lebanese soldiers were killed, along with 1-2 militants, and six were wounded in clashes near the Syrian border which started after an attempt by the military to arrest an anti-Assad rebel commander, who was also killed. On 28 May 2013, three Lebanese soldiers were killed in an attack on their checkpoint near the border town of Arsal by unknown militants who then fled over the border into Syria. On 29 March 2014, three soldiers were killed and four wounded in a suicide bomb attack on their checkpoint near Arsal. 20 soldiers were killed during the Battle of Arsal against Syrian and other foreign jihadists and a further 13 were captured and subsequently executed. On 19 September, two soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb near Arsal. On 2 December, six soldiers were killed and one wounded in an ambush by unknown gunmen in the Tal Hamra area of Ras Baalbek, near the border with Syria. On 23 January 2015, eight soldiers were killed and 22 wounded near Ras Baalbek after their outpost near the border was attacked by ISIL. The fighting also left more than 40 militants dead. Three soldiers were also killed during an offensive against ISIL in the border area in August 2017.
112 servicemen killedSee also: Russian Armed Forces casualties in Syria
Following the start of Russia’s intervention in Syria against rebel and ISIL forces at the end of September 2015, 112 soldiers had died by 30 September 2018. Among them, was a Russian military co-pilot who was killed when his Su-24 military plane was shot down near the Turkish-Syrian border by the Turkish military on 24 November 2015. His pilot was later recovered alive and well by Russian and Syrian special forces. Additionally, a Russian marine was killed when his military rescue helicopter was shot down by rebels while searching for the downed plane’s pilots. Almost half of the deaths were attributed to the crash of an An-26 on approach to Khmeimim air base in Latakia, and the accidental shooting down of a reconnaissance plane by Syrian air-defenses.
172 servicemen killed
Two members of the Turkish Air Force were killed when their F-4 Phantom II military jet was shot down near the Turkish-Syrian border by the Syrian Army on 22 June 2012. On 2 May 2013, one Turkish border guard policeman was killed in a clash with smugglers or rebel fighters on the border between Turkey and Syria. According to the opposition, two rebels were killed as well. Throughout 2014, seven soldiers and a policeman were killed along the border with Syria in shootouts with foreign jihadists, Kurdish fighters and other unknown gunmen. On 22 February 2015, a soldier was killed in an accident during a military incursion into Syria to evacuate Turkish troops at the Tomb of Suleyman Shah. Later, in two incidents in July and September, two soldiers were killed and five wounded by cross-border fire from ISIL territory in Syria. On 15 February 2016, a soldier died at the border during clashes against human smugglers that tried to cross the border illegally. Two Turkish soldiers died in a suicide bombing at a Syrian border crossing in mid-August. Following the start of Turkey’s ground incursion into Syria against ISIL and Kurdish forces in late August 2016, 71 soldiers had died by 18 March 2017. 83 more died as result of the Turkish military operation in Afrin in 2018. and 1 killed in Idlib during the Turkish military operation than begun in February 2018.
1 serviceman killed
A UK servicemen died on 30 March 2018 by an IED explosion in Majib.
5 servicemen killed
A U.S. pilot was killed on 30 November 2014, when his F-16 fighter aircraft crashed in Jordan following a combat mission against the Islamic State jihadist group. Also, a U.S. special forces member died due to a bomb explosion while supporting Kurdish-led forces during the Wrath of Euphrates offensive against ISIL-held Raqqa. Two other service members died due to non-combat causes in northern Syria in 2017. A US servicemen died on 30 March 2018 by an IED explosion in Majib.
Foreign air-strike casualties
The SOHR considers the following figures on ISIL, al-Nusra and other rebel fatalities to be higher due to the groups efforts to hide their losses.
According to SOHR, U.S.-led Coalition airstrikes have killed 11,894 people across Syria, of which: 8,024 dead were ISIL fighters, 309 Al-Nusra Front militants and other rebels, 169 government soldiers and 3,430 civilians. The air strikes occurred in the period between 22 September 2014 and 22 September 2018.
According to SOHR, Russian airstrikes in Syria killed 18,096 people, of whom 5,233 were ISIL fighters, 4,875 militants from the Al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front and other rebel forces and 7,988 civilians. The air strikes occurred in the period between 30 September 2015 and 29 September 2018.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, since the start of Russia’s aerial campaign in Syria and by 20 October 2018, the Russian Air Force killed more than 87,500 rebels and ISIL fighters.
Medical workers killed
Killings of medical workers since the start of the Syrian Civil War, according to a PHR summary Attacks by government forces (95.5%) ISIL or rebel groups (2.5%) Kurdish forces (0.1%) Unknown forces (1.9%)
A February 2015 joint report by the Center for Public Health and Human Rights of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Syrian American Medical Society asserted that “Syria is the most dangerous place in the world to be a doctor”. Roughly half (an estimated 15,000) of Syrian doctors fled the country. The government passed a law in 2012 making it illegal to render medical aid to anyone suspected to be an opposition member and Amnesty International found that doctors and medical staff also took part in torture of patients.
Physicians for Human Rights has been tracking the medical personnel deaths in Syria, though they state that “these numbers are conservative given the difficulties in reporting during a war.” As of the end of September 2015, the number of medical workers killed in the Syrian civil war totaled 679. In March 2017, the number of killed medical personnel was updated to more than 800. 723 of these deaths were attributable to the Syrian government, while 72 were killed by ISIL or rebel groups, one by Kurdish forces, and 13 by unidentified forces.
Médecins Sans Frontières has reported that suppliers in Syria refuse to sell essential medical supplies such as gauze and surgical threads to doctors due to government intimidation, with this being a particular problem for besieged areas.