Shocking numbers that sum up Syrian Civil War


Smoke rises over Saif Al Dawla district, in Aleppo, Syria. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo, File)
IT REPRESENTS the greatest humanitarian challenge of our time. Five years of intense fighting has plunged a once vibrant country into darkness. 
The destruction and despair wrought by the Syrian Civil War has caused a “systematic” obliteration of infrastructure and population. Such is the backward direction of the country, that from 2010 to 2015, the average life expectancy fell by a staggering 20 years.
Just five years ago the life expectancy of a child born in Syria was 75.9 years, but that number has since fallen to an estimated 55.7 years. In contrast, the average life expectancy in Australia is 82.2 years.
A complete death toll in the war is impossible to pin down, but estimates from aid organisations and the United Nations put the number at more than 270,000 people — thousands more than the number killed in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.
According to aid organisation Mercy Corps, “half the country’s pre-war population — more than 11 million people — have been killed or forced to flee their homes”.
The UN estimates close to four million Syrians have fled the country — a trend that has fuelled an incredibly difficult European refugee crisis that has dominated global headlines.
A further seven million Syrians are believed to be internally displaced due to the fighting, and those left behind face almost impossible circumstances.
A shocking 80 per cent of Syrians are now deemed to be living in poverty. More than three million have lost their jobs since fighting broke out in 2010, according to a 2015 UN-backed report.
Unemployment has surged from 14.9 per cent in 2011 to 57.7 per cent at the end of 2014.
“Thirty per cent of the population have descended into abject poverty where households struggle to meet the basic food needs to sustain bare life,” the report said.
Of the millions displaced and suffering, Syria’s children are bearing the brunt of the crisis and have been dubbed the country’s “lost generation”.
An estimated four million Syrian children are out of school or any formal education at the moment, adding to the disastrous long term effects of the conflict.
“The scale of the crisis for children is growing all the time, which is why there are now such fears that Syria is losing a whole generation of its youth,” said Peter Salama, regional director of the UN’s Children’s Fund.
A majority of the country live half their lives under a blanket of darkness as the damage accumulated in the war has caused 83 per cent of the country’s electricity to be cut.
An image taken from space at night shows how the lights have slowly faded from the night sky over Syria.
IMAGE: Syria from space at night, 2011 (left) and 2015 (right). pic.twitter.com/cg5VdIkWnb
— The Int'l Spectator (@intlspectator) February 7, 2016
The images above were taken by a team of researchers from Wuhan University in China from satellites 800km above the earth.
“These satellite images help us understand the suffering and fear experienced by ordinary Syrians as their country is destroyed around them,” said Dr Xi Li, the lead researcher on the project, in a statement.
While the emotional toll of the ongoing civil war is impossible to define, the financial cost is so far projected to have surpassed $US200 billion in damage and lost revenue.
“With the economic and structural losses and the destruction of oil resources, agriculture, industry, trade, infrastructure and the displacement of millions of people, the total losses suffered by Syria easily exceeds 200 billion dollars,” the head of the Syrian Economic Task Force, Osama Kadi, said last year.
Homs, the third largest city in Syria, has been reduced to rubble and today shows a faint flicker of the life it once held. Drone footage circulated online last week shows the devastation suffered by the city and led prominent Middle East commentator, Maajid Nawaz, to comment: “Are we fighting to control cities of rubble?”
Drone video shows the devastation in Homs, Syria. Now almost completely empty of life #Syria https://t.co/wjra5oivdK
— Catrin Nye (@CatrinNye) February 4, 2016
THE LATEST
Peace talks stalled last week as the Syrian army secured a major battlefield victory against insurgent rebels, and Russia vowed to continue its aerial bombardment in support of the Assad regime.
The continued fighting marred the fragile peace talks, which rebel groups said they would refuse to join until Syrian president Bashar al-Assad stopped attacking Syrian rebels.
Peace talks are set to resume on February 25.
The aid group Mercy Corps says intensified air strikes and fighting around Aleppo have cut off the main humanitarian route into the Syrian city, and that tens of thousands of civilians are fleeing north toward the border with Turkey.
David Evans, Mercy Corps’ regional program director for the Middle East, said in a statement on Thursday that the group’s operations in northern Syria “have been effectively sliced in half.”
Tens of thousands of Syrians who fled the Russia-backed government offensive in Aleppo are now stranded at the border with Turkey.
Birds are seen sitting on iron rods from the rubble of destroyed buildings amid the war ravaged city of Homs on February 5, 2016. Picture: AFP/Joseph Eid
Birds are seen sitting on iron rods from the rubble of destroyed buildings amid the war ravaged city of Homs on February 5, 2016. Picture: AFP/Joseph EidSource:AFP
Syrian rescuers search for survivors from under the rubble following a reported air strike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of al-Kalasa in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, on February 4, 2016. Picture: AFP/Thaer Mohammed
Syrian rescuers search for survivors from under the rubble following a reported air strike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of al-Kalasa in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, on February 4, 2016. Picture: AFP/Thaer MohammedSource:AFP
Turkey has vowed to help the crowds of people, including many women and children, but has not opened its borders and aid agencies have warned they are facing a “desperate” situation as they wait for help.
“Turkey has reached the limit of its capacity to absorb the refugees,” Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told CNN Turk television.
“But in the end, these people have nowhere else to go. Either they will die beneath the bombings ... or we will open our borders.
“We are not in a position to tell them not to come. If we do, we would be abandoning them to their deaths.”
Turkey’s Oncupinar border crossing, which faces the Bab al-Salama frontier post inside Syria, remained closed on Sunday as thousands of refugees gathered there for a third day waiting for the gate to open.
One small piece of good news came last week as world leaders pledged more than $US10 billion to help fund schools, shelter and jobs for the refugees of Syria’s civil war.
The money was pledged following an aid conference in London last Thursday (Friday AEDT) and, according to British Prime Minister David Cameron, “will save lives, will give hope, will give people the chance of a future”.
“Never has the international community raised so much money on a single day for a single crisis,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.
“The promises of long-term funding and loans mean that humanitarian and development partners will be able to work together to get children back into school, design employment programs and begin rebuilding infrastructure.”
A Syrian boy stands at a temporary refugee camp for displaced Syrians in northern Syria, near Bab al-Salameh border crossing with Turkey, on February 7. Picture: AP
A Syrian boy stands at a temporary refugee camp for displaced Syrians in northern Syria, near Bab al-Salameh border crossing with Turkey, on February 7. Picture: APSource:AP
THE NUMBERS
 More than 270,000 killed
 Life expectancy reduced by 20 years
 Four million Syrians are external refugees
 Nearly seven million are displaced inside the country
 Four out of five Syrians live in poverty
 Unemployment has risen to nearly 60 per cent
 Four million children are missing out on formal schooling
 More than 80 per cent of country’s electricity has been cut
 More than $US200 billion in damage and lost revenue
 Thirteen million in need of assistance
 Largest current refugee crisis in the world
Source http://www.news.com.au/world/middle-east/shocking-numbers-that-sum-up-syrian-civil-war/news-story/0361e487c319253b7703d7cc881cb2c8

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