World shaken by violent conflicts as death toll rose dramatically in 2014
by Begüm Tunakan
ISTANBULMar 20, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Begüm Tunakan
Mar 20, 2015 12:00 am
With the world beset by violent conflicts, the global death toll climbed by more than 28 percent last year from 2013, according to a report released by a new think tank, Project for the Study of the 21st Century (PS21). The report was based on figures released by the United States military, the United Nations, and the Syria Observatory for Human Rights and Iraqi Body Count. According to the report, Middle East, most countries of Africa and Asia has been witnessing more violence than the other parts of the world, as the crisis in Syria was the bloodiest in 2014, which was followed by Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Assessing casualty figures in conflict is notoriously difficult and many of the figures we are looking at here a probably underestimates," PS21 Executive Director, Peter Apps said. "The important thing, however, is that when you compare like-with-like data for 2014 and 2013, you get a very significant increase. That says something very concerning."
Syria became the deadliest country in 2014 as the war entered its fourth year, the report reveals. The death toll in Syria hit 76,021 in 2014, followed by 21,073 lives in Iraq. The violent clashes, between the Bashar Assad regime and the opposition groups, have targeted civilians, mostly children, with many needing to move in order to secure their safety. According to UNICEF figures, at least 5.6 million children have been exposed to violence, with 2 million deprived of basic humanitarian needs due to the continuing violence.
The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has been posing a significant danger for the Middle East since June 2014 after it took over large swathes of territories in both Syria and Iraq.
Nigeria became the fourth deadliest country in the world, according to the 2014 figures, with 11,529. Compared to the previous year, the number of deaths almost tripled after the conflict with militant group, Boko Haram, intensified in the northern part of the country. The growing radicalization in the northern states is seen as a crucial threat to both the future of Nigeria and global security. There is a growing concern that the pattern of radicalization could spread to other areas in the region.
The Ukraine crisis became the eighth bloodiest war. The death toll exceeds Somalia, Libya and Israel/the Palestinian territories with 4,707 people killed within only one year. In addition to the rising death toll in the east of the country, more than two million Ukrainians have been forcibly displaced due to worsening humanitarian conditions in rebel-held areas where heavy fighting has turned eastern Ukraine into a battle zone. According to 2015 U.N. figures, the death toll has already passed 6,000 and is expected to rise.
"This is a very real war, not counter insurgency warfare. You have armies with mechanized infantry, tanks. The whole system of relations between the big powers is changing so we're in a big period of instability. This is probably just the beginning," Vassily Kashin, PS21 global fellow said to explain the unexpected rising death toll in eastern Ukraine despite the shaky truce still holds in the rebel-held areas.
The breaches of the Minsk accords have been widely reported demonstrating that the months-long crisis in Ukraine's east has yet to be resolved despite a series of mediating talks and peace efforts. Russia's increased militarization of the rebel-held areas in the Donbass region, and its explicit support for pro-Russian separatists who are seeking a regional leadership close to Russia has led to growing tension between the Western countries and Russia.