Al-Assad’s legacy in 3rd presidential term | Over 371,000 people killed…unprecedented economic collapse…foreign interventions and large spread of drugs
Tomorrow, the world will witness a new farce play that has been written and directed by al-Assad regime. Three candidates will compete on the presidential elections, toped of whom is Bashar al-Assad. It well known that the election is of pre-determined results, and al-Assad will win a new term, which will be the fourth since death of his father Hafez al-Assad in 2000.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reviews in this report the most prominent events that Syria have been experienced during the third term of al-Assad from 2014 till now.
The third term of Bashar al-Assad, head of the Syrian regime, has witnessed involvement of regional and international powers in the Syrian conflict. Each of these powers have chosen a Syrian party to support it in a certain area. Logistically and militarily, the U.S. and the International Coalition forces beside the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have intervened in northeastern Syria which enabled SDF to control large swaths in the northeast Syria.
Meanwhile, the Turkish forces and the opposition factions have entered several Syrian areas including Idlib and have launched wide-scale military operations under the name of “Euphrates Shield, Olive Branch and Peace Spring.”
However, the regime has asked help of Russia and Iran, the strategic ally after it lost vast lands and have become very close to collapse. With aid of the Russians and the Iranians, the regime restored many districts, not by its forces but via the random air and land shelling amid displacement of the inhabitants.
Then, agreements like Sochi and others similar deals either between Russia and Turkey, or in most cases among Russia, Iran and Turley that led to the displacement of inhabitants and restore the regime areas in return for delivering other areas to the Turkish side, which means distributing the Syrian districts among the foreign forces.
The third term also has seen unprecedented escalation by the Israelis by striking the Syrian territories since 2018 which murdered and wounded hundreds of civilians and destroyed military posts and institutions, while the regime was only responding by condemnation and killing his people instead of attacking the Israeli side.
In the following, Syrian Observatory categorizes the areas of control among the powers since the third term of al-Assad started till now:
Since June 3, 2014, the forces and the conflicts were distributed as follows:
- Syrian Democratic Forces (inhabited areas) controlled 15,155 km2 that equals 8.20 %.
- ISIS in inhabited areas controlled 242,981 km2 that equals 23,20 %
- ISIS in Syrian desert controlled 15,641 km2 that equals 8,40 %
- Syrian regime and proxies in inhabited areas controlled 27,521 km2 that equals 14.90 %
- Syrian regime and proxies in Syrian desert controlled 65,064 km2 that equals 35,10 %
- Islamic and fighting factions in inhabited areas controlled 18,818 km2 that equals 10.20 %
Since June 3, 2014, the controlled inhabited areas were distributed as follows:
- Syrian Democratic Forces controlled 15,155 km2 which equals 14.50 %
- ISIS controlled 42,981 km2 which equals 41,10 %
- Regime forces and proxies controlled 27,521 km2 which equals 26,40 %
- Islamic fighting factions controlled 18,818 km2 which equals 18,00 %
Since June 3, 2014, the controlled Syrian deserts were distributed as follows:
- ISIS controlled 15,641 km2 which equals 19,40 %
- Syrian regime forces and proxies controlled 65,064 km2 which equals 80,60 %
Since May 25, 2021, conflicts and forces were distributed as follows:
- Syrian Democratic Forces in inhabited areas controlled 19,220 km2 which equals 15,70 %
- ISIS in desert areas controlled 3,283 km2 which equals 1,80 %
- Syrian regime and proxies in populated areas controlled 42,510 km2 which equals 23,00 %
- Syrian regime and proxies in desert areas controlled 73,879 km2 which equals 39,90 %
- Islamic fighting and Turkish-backed factions controlled 13,924 km2 which equals 7,50 %
- US, Western-backed forces in desert areas controlled 3,543 km2 which equals 1,90 %
- Regime forces and SDF joint areas in inhabited areas controlled 18,821 which equals 10,20 %
Since May 25, 2021, controlled populated areas distributed as follows:
- Syrian Democratic Forces controlled 19,220 km2 which equals 28,00 %
- Syrian regime and proxies controlled 42,510 km2 which equals 40,70 %
- Turkish-backed factions controlled 13,924 km2 which equals 18,00 %
- Regime forces and SDF joint areas controlled 18,812 km2 which equals 18,00 %
Since May 25, 2021, controlled desert areas distributed as follows:
- ISIS controlled 3,283 Km2 which equals 4,10 %
- Syrian regime and proxies controlled 73,879 km2 which equals 91,50 %
- US, western forces controlled 3,543 km2 which equals 4,40 %
Its worth noting that Syria locates on an area is 185,180 km2 (104,475 km2 inhabited areas and 80,705 desert area). SOHR statistics revealed that al-Assad regime has been controlling 50 percent of the Syrian lands and now controls 62 percent, which means that all the international, regional deals and the military operation have helped the regime to control 12 percent of the Syrian lands including 4 percent in the desert and 8 percent in the inhabited areas after killing, wounding and displacing the residents.
The third term of al-Assad has witnessed gradual economic collapse due to the regime policies and his persistence to stay in power, and the resulting international economic sanctions most prominent of which was “Caesar law”. Al-Assad started his third term when the US dollar exchange price against the US dollar was 170 Syrian lira compared to the current 3,100 lira, It was about to reach sometimes in the past week 5,000 lira which means 30 doubles.
The currency’s collapse has caused inflation, hiking prices, very low salaries and considerably reduced the jo opportunities which deepened the poverty depth and turned it into extreme poverty, all were al-Assad legacy in his third term in office.
When speaking about the third term of al-Assad, it is worthy to refer to the huge spread of the drugs in al-Assad-held areas specifically and the players who support him whether from the regime officials and proxies from Lebanese Hezullah and Iranian-backed militia. The narcotic substances spread in Al-Suwaidaa, Daraa and Al-Quneitra in the south, Damascus and its countryside and the Lebanese-Syrian borders, passing through the central and eastern districts, Aleppo and its countryside and other areas in the north, which SOHR has repeatedly mentioned in previous reports.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has documented the death of 226,514 persons across Syria since the beginning of Bashar al-Assad’s latest presidential term, from the 3rd of June 2014 to the 24th of May 2021.
A breakdown of the overall death toll was as follows:
- Civilians: 62,809 Syrians, they were: 41,062 men, 13,540 children under the age of eighteen and 8,207 women over the age of eighteen
- Syrian fighters of rebel and Islamic factions and other various factions, movements, and organizations: 29,891
- Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) and Kurdish units: 10,377
- Regime army defectors: 312
- Bashar al-Assad’s regime forces: 30,176
- NDF fighters and Syrian regime loyalists: 28,695
- Lebanese Hezbollah: 1,251
- Non-Syrian militiamen loyal to the regime forces of the Shiite community: 7,278, of whom there were 264 were Russian soldiers and mercenaries
- Turkish soldiers: 215
- Jihadists of Hayyat Tahrir Al-Sham (former Nusra Front), and other jihadi organizations: 22,657
- ISIS members: 31,483
- Non-Syrian fighters of SDF: 936
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has been unable to document the number of deaths of the International Coalition, due to the extreme secrecy shrouding their missions and operations. While the number of unidentified people whose death have been documented by pictures and videos has reached 434.
These statistics, documented by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, do not include nearly 88,000 civilians killed under torture in the detention centers and prisons of Bashar al-Assad’s regime (SOHR obtained information about their death during the period of their detention.) The statistics also do not include the fate of more than 3,200 abducted civilians and fighters in the prisons the “Islamic State” organization, or the fate of more than 4,100 prisoners and missing members of the regime forces and loyalist militiamen, and more than 1,800 persons kidnapped by rebel and Islamic factions, “Islamic State” organization and Fateh al-Sham Front (former Jabhat Al-Nusra) on charges of loyalty to the regime.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates that the real and actual number of people who were killed to be in the region of nearly 45,000, well above the numbers that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has been able to document, simply due to the extreme secrecy surrounding the number of casualties by the warring parties; Furthermore, the Observatory has been unable to document many civilians deaths due to the difficulty of reaching some remote areas in Syria.
Additionally, the ongoing military operations, shelling, bombardment and various explosions have injured more than 2.1 million Syrian civilians with varying injuries, wounds and permanent disabilities.
About 13,000,000 other civilians, including hundreds of thousands of children and women, have been displaced. Furthermore, infrastructure, hospitals, schools, and private and public property have been substantially damaged or destroyed.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also meticulously documented, in spreadsheets, the death toll according to the ‘perpetrator’ category. A breakdown of total number of civilian deaths of 62,809 by the ‘perpetrator’ category was as follows:
- By al-Assad regime forces and Syrian and non-Syrian loyalist militiamen: 20,103 civilians, of whom there were 11,548 young and adult men, 5,563 children under the age of eighteen and 2,992 females over the age of eighteen.
- By Bashar al-Assad’s regime jets and helicopter: 17,009 civilians, of whom there were 10,628 men, 3,922 children under the age of eighteen and 2,549 females over the age of eighteen.
- In regime detention centers and prisons: 6,243 civilians of whom there were 6,179 young and adult men, 40 children under the age of eighteen, and 24 females over the age of eighteen.
Accordingly 69.2% of civilian deaths was committed by regime forces and their allies.
Civilian death toll by foreign powers, intervened in Syria under the pretext of “helping the Syrian people to achieve justice and to get rid of oppression”, was as follows:
- By Russian ground and aerial attacks: 8,672 civilians, of whom there were 5,252 adult and young men, 2,099 children under the age of eighteen and 1,321 females over the age of eighteen.
- By International Coalition bombardment: 3,847 civilians, of whom there were 2,162 men, 973 children under the age of eighteen and 712 females over the age of eighteen.
- In attacks by Turkish forces and fighter jets: 1,017 civilians, of whom there were 687 adult and young men, 200 children under the age of eighteen and 130 females over the age of eighteen.
- Turkish Jandarma (Border Guard Forces): 468 civilian, of whom there were 339 young and adult men, 86 children under the age of eighteen and 43 females over the age of eighteen.
- Israel’s ground and aerial attacks: 13 civilians, of whom there were seven men, three children and three women.
Accordingly 22.3% of civilian deaths was committed by foreign forces.
- Civilian death toll by various ‘anti-regime’ formations and groups such as opposition factions, Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), and other groups in Syria: 2,251 civilians, of whom there were 2,251 men, 1,453 children under the age of eighteen and 280 females over the age of eighteen.
Accordingly 3.7% of civilian deaths was committed by opposition factions, jihadi groups and SDF.
- Civilians killed by the “Islamic State” (ISIS): 2,363 civilians, of whom there were 2,009 men, 201 children under the age of eighteen and 153 females over the age of eighteen.
Accordingly 4.2% of civilian deaths was committed by ISIS.
Accordingly, over 371,000 people, including nearly 52,117 civilians, were killed and documented by names by SOHR in the 3rd presidential term of Bashar al-Assad, and they were killed by regime forces and their proxies, mainly the Russians, with a share of 83% of the total civilian death toll. While over 67,000 regimes soldiers and soldiers and militiamen of the Syrian regime’s allies were killed in the same period.