LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – This week marks 1000 days since the start of the Syrian conflict in which as many as 126,000 people have been killed.
At the height of the Arab Spring in 2011, thousands of Syrians took to the streets to demand the overthrow of ruler Bashar al-Assad. Since then the country has been racked by a civil war which has been hugely detrimental to Syria's 21 million population.
The last 1000 days has seen the country’s infrastructure destroyed, its healthcare system crippled and millions left in need of direct humanitarian assistance in their daily struggle to survive.
Here are some key facts and figures:
- According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 126,000 people have died in the conflict. (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)
- There are almost 2.3 million Syrian refugees registered with the UNHCR and OCHA reports that 6.5 million Syrians are internally displaced. (UNHCR, OCHA)
- On October 2, the United Nations Security Council described the situation in Syria as “a humanitarian tragedy” and issued a statement calling for the Syrian government to allow UN humanitarian agencies and other relief agencies access to the country to deliver vital aid for the local population. (UN Security Council)
- There are an estimated 2,000 armed opposition groups active in Syria, including foreign jihadists associated with Al Qaeda groups (UN Security Council)
- On August 21, a chemical weapons attacked rocked the suburb of Eastern Ghouta killing as many as 1,400 people and injuring hundreds more. (Reuters)
- In recent days, the Syrian government has agreed to allow humanitarian agencies to transport vital aid across three of Syria’s four borders. Aid will be allowed to be transported by UN agencies into Syria from Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan but the Turkish border is still closed to agencies and the Syrian authorities consider crossing it “a red line”. (UN Security Council)
- Over 60 percent of Syria’s hospitals and medical clinics have been damaged or are no longer functioning and a similar proportion of ambulances are now badly damaged or have been stolen (UN)
- On October 29, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that there was an outbreak of Polio in Syria, after 17 cases of the virus were confirmed. The WHO launched a polio vaccination campaign in Syria and neighbouring refugee camps. (WHO)
- Rebel-held territories are still being besieged by Syrian government forces, resulting in civilians getting caught up in the conflict. The districts of Eastern Ghouta, Moadimya, Yarmouk and Dera’a are under siege and there have been reports of local residents suffering from starvation and a lack of medical supplies (UN Security Council)
- Girls as young as 12 have been raped and sexually assaulted by government forces; Human Rights Watch reports that rape and sexual violence is endemic in the country and is being used against men, women, girls and boys. (Human Rights Watch)