Victims of the Conflict in Syria in the whole 2021

 A baby Syrian girl in the rubble A baby Syrian girl in the rubble © Hosien Azour on Unsplash

This article is a brief presentation of the SNHR’s report on the civilians killed in the conflict in Syria during the whole year of 2021

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) is an independent human rights organization. It monitors and documents human rights violations in Syria. It aims at protecting victims' rights, holding perpetrators accountable for the crimes committed and raising awareness among Syrian civilians of their civil and political rights. The present report recorded the death toll of victims of the conflict in Syria documented by the SNHR in the whole of 2021. 

The methodology adopted includes a catalogue of the death toll attributed to the perpetrator parties in the conflict. The parties are divided into two categories. An extensive database is used to catalogue the main parties responsible for extrajudicial killings and the parties causing the death of civilians, according to the governorate in which the killing took place. The relevant report focuses on the following areas: the extrajudicial killings database of 2021; the death toll of civilians; torture victims and the media and medical personnel; the most notable massacres recorded in the database; and the most remarkable work of the SNHR on extrajudicial killings.

The SNHR’s database recorded the killing of more than 1,200 Syrian civilians, including 229 children. However, the organization was unable to record dozens of more cases. The killing of approximately 34% of the 2021 death toll concentrates from January to March of 2021. In June, the SNHR documented a sudden military escalation by the Syrian-Russian alliance resulting in the death of 61 civilians, including 33 children and 12 women. In September, the United Nations announced that 350,209 people had been killed between March 2011 and March 2021. Moreover, in October the Syrian regime forces launched the largest military attack on northwest Syria killing 11 civilians, including four children and one woman. Finally, many casualties resulted from landmine explosions in different governorates and regions. In this context, the SNHR recorded 176 civilian victims, including 74 children and 25 women.

As to the death toll of civilians, the SNHR recorded, on the one hand, the death of civilians killed by the main parties in the whole of 2021. In extensive detail, the Syrian regime forces killed 261 civilians, of whom 68 were children and 32 women. The Russian forces killed 65 civilians, including 32 children and seven women. ISIS caused the death of seven civilians, including two children. The  Hay’ at Tahrir al-Sham killed 17 civilians, including five children. The Syrian National Army killed 24 civilians, including three children and two women. The Democratic Union Party killed 75 civilians, including 11 children and two women and the US-led coalition harmed two civilians. On the other hand, the death toll caused by other parties included 820 civilians, 178 of which are children and 91 women. The other parties include land mines, bombings, shells, gunfire, killings by unknown parties, border guards from Turkey and Jordan, Lebanese and Turkish forces, and drownings.

As to the victims of torture in 2021, SNHR documented the deaths of 104 victims75% of civilians who died from torture were killed by the Syrian regime forces and the Iranian militias. The most notable deaths from torture are Nehad Atef Maf’alani who was arrested in 2012 and forcibly disappeared. Furthermore, Hussein Muhammad al Alloush was arrested and tortured to death at the detention centre. Ayesh Helal al Fa’ouri, a teacher, and Ghiath Abboud Saud al Faadel, who forcibly disappeared. Then there are two brothers, Mahmoud and Omar Mahmoud al Kurdi, whose detention and lawyer visits have been denied. As to the victims of medical personnel, seven of them were killed by the controlling forces in Syria. With regards to the media workers, the SNHR documented the death of one of them, who was killed by the Russian forces. Finally, three Civil Defense personnel were killed by the controlling forces in Syria.

Speaking of massacres, the organization documented 19 massacres since January 2021 distributed according to the main parties. In particular, five massacres came from the Syrian regime forces and four of them were committed by the Russian forces. 

The most notable work conducted by the SNHR resulted from the creation of complex electronic programs to archive and categorize the data of the victims according to their gender, age, date and place of death, method of killing, weapon and the perpetrator. Moreover, the organization periodically issues daily news and monthly reports and it also sends a special form to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings. 

In conclusion, the SNHR ascertained that Syria committed some indiscriminate attacks. This means that the Syrian regime not only violated international humanitarian law (IHL) and customary law, but also a number of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. Therefore, the Security Council recommended that “all parties must immediately cease any attacks against civilians and civilian objects as such”.


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Author: Valentina Di Carlantonio

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