Syria Four Years On

Syria is the least peaceful country on the 2014 Global Peace Index. While this may come as no surprise, we can safely say that it is the least peaceful a country has ever been on the Global Peace Index, far less peaceful than Afghanistan and Iraq were during the height of their civil wars.

In 2014, Syria swapped places with previously bottom-ranked Afghanistan. Over the course of the past year, the Syrian civil war intensified to new heights of violence and bloodshed, with an estimate of around 220,00  persons killed since the fighting erupted in 2011, and millions displaced (this, in turn, was the main indicator that led to the deterioration in Syria’s score, along with the ease of access to small arms).

The most significant event was the chemical attack by government forces in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, that left hundreds dead and resulted in strong international condemnation and, almost, to intervention by Western forces. This was only averted after a last-minute deal, sponsored by Russia, to disarm the Syrian government of its chemical-weapons capabilities, to which it has mostly complied and, hence, has resulted in a slight boost to the score.

However, the tepid support offered by the West to the rebels (in contrast to the lavish support of the government by Russia) has resulted in a stalemate, in which the government now appears more likely to prevail and that foreshadows another year of bloodshed for what is the world’s least peaceful country.

Explore changes in peace in Syria over time on the interactive Global Peace Index map and read more in the 2014 Global Peace Index Report. 

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