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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Syrian Conflict: Human Rights, War Crimes, and Refugees

This guide provides information and resources on the Syrian Conflict (2011-Present).

Resources on Human Rights and War Crimes

Resources on the Syrian Refugee Crisis


The present death toll in the conflict is heavily debated and it is difficult to accurately determine; it is hard for human rights groups to access all of the conflict area. Some estimates put the number of dead at around 250,000, others at 370,000 or 400,000, others place it higher at around 470,000. Separate estimates of battle only deaths put the toll at around 146,000.

Below is a graphical representation of the deaths documented by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as of October 2016 (via Al Jazeera).

Refugees and Displacement

The UNHCR estimates that there are 4.8 million Syrian refugees who have fled Syria with another 8.7 million Syrians who have been displaced within Syria itself. Most of the refugees who fled Syria now reside in neighboring countries.

Below are infographics from the UNHCR, via Al Jazeera (Oct. 2016), the BBC (Feb. 2016), the UNHCR (Feb. 2017), and the UNOCHA (Mar. 2017) representing this.