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More than 3,700 people were killed in Syria's civil war this year

A child walks inside a flooded tent at a camp for the displaced people near Bab al-Hawa by the border with Turkey, in Syria's northwestern Idlib province, on Monday.
Aaref Watad
AFP via Getty Images
A child walks inside a flooded tent at a camp for the displaced people near Bab al-Hawa by the border with Turkey, in Syria's northwestern Idlib province, on Monday.

A monitor group said 3,746 people were killed in the Syrian civil war in 2021, the 11th year of the conflict in the country.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said this week that the number includes 1,505 civilians, and among them were 360 children. About 600 Islamic State, or ISIS, members were killed and 158 from the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias.

The Observatory is based in the U.K. but has a network of contacts in Syria.

The figure represents the lowest yearly count of deaths in the war so far. President Bashar Assad has declared victory in the war and his regime controls most of the country, though large sections are still under rebel control.

After it began as an uprising against Assad as part of the Arab Spring in 2011, the conflict grew into a complex proxy war involving the U.S., Iran, Russia and Turkey. At least 350,000 people have died over the last decade, the United Nations reported in September. The U.N. said that number was of verified deaths and that the true number is much higher.

The conflict also spawned the world's biggest refugee crisis, with more than half of Syria's people displaced. There are 5.5 million refugees living primarily in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, while another 6.7 million are internally displaced.

Fighting and deaths have gone down in the last two years after Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to a cease-fire in the opposition stronghold of Idlib in March 2020.

More than 10,000 people were killed in 2019 and 6,800 killed in 2020, according to the Observatory. The deadliest year in the group's tracking was 2014, when 76,000 people were killed.

Russian-backed forces still occasionally launch attacks against targets in Idlib and ISIS remnants have also carried out "hit-and-run" attacks in eastern Syria, according to AFP.

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James Doubek is an associate editor and reporter for NPR. He frequently covers breaking news for and NPR's hourly newscast. In 2018, he reported feature stories for NPR's business desk on topics including electric scooters, cryptocurrency, and small business owners who lost out when Amazon made a deal with Apple.