+   *    +     +     
About Us 
The Issues 
Our Research Products 
Order Publications 
Press Room 
Resources for Monitor Researchers 
Email Notification Receive notifications when this Country Profile is updated.


Send us your feedback on this profile

Send the Monitor your feedback by filling out this form. Responses will be channeled to editors, but will not be available online. Click if you would like to send an attachment. If you are using webmail, send attachments to .


Last Updated: 27 November 2013

Casualties and Victim Assistance

Casualties overview

All known casualties by end 2012

716 mine/ERW casualties (232 killed; 472 injured, 12 unknown)

Casualties in 2012

37 (2011: 20)

2012 casualties by outcome

6 killed; 29 injured; 2 unknown (2011: 6 killed; 4 injured; 10 unknown)

2012 casualties by item type

28 antipersonnel mine; 6 antivehicle mine; 2 undefined mine types; 1 cluster submunition

In 2012, 37 new landmine/unexploded submunition casualties were identified in Syria through media monitoring; at least four casualties were children and two were women. All casualties were civilian, where the status was known.[1] This represented an increase in annual casualties from 20 new civilian mine casualties identified in Syria in 2011. However, there was a lack of information overall regarding casualties of mines, cluster munitions, and explosive remnants of war (ERW), due to ongoing armed conflict. There were no reported efforts to distinguish these casualties from the many people killed and injured by other weapons. It was likely that the threat posed by ERW was high.[2]

The numbers of casualties identified in 2012, and since internal conflict began in 2011, represent a significant increase from previous years. In 2010, no casualties were identified in Syria, and in 2009 a single antivehicle casualty was reported.[3]

Of the 36 landmine casualties recorded in 2012, 29 casualties were reported to have occurred along or near the border with Turkey. Another six casualties occurred on or near the border with Lebanon: between the Syrian village of Msherifeh and the Lebanese village of al-Moqaibla; near the crossing to the Lebanese village of Al Naoura; and at the Tal Kalakh border with Lebanon. The other casualty occurred in Quneitra governorate near the border with Israel. The head of the General Society of Israeli Landmine Survivors in Quneitra governorate was reported as saying that two other people were injured in that region in the same year, but no other details were available.[4]

In 2012, at least eight more Syrians were reported to have become mine casualties in the Turkish border minefield while trying to cross into Turkey.[5]

The total number of mine/ERW casualties recorded in Syria between 1967 and the end of 2012 is at least 716 mine/ERW casualties (232 killed; 472 injured; 12 unknown).[6] In the absence of a national casualty data collection mechanism, it is probable that there were also unrecorded casualties before the beginning of internal armed conflict in 2011.

Cluster munition casualties

In 2012, the Monitor identified 165 casualties from cluster munitions strikes through media monitoring; at least 35 were children, or some 40% in cases where the age was known.[7] Media monitoring for January to September 2013 identified another 55 casualties due to cluster munitions strikes. These numbers are not thought to be reliable due to a lack of active data collection able to differentiate the exact weapon used. The number of people killed and injured during strikes is likely much higher.

At least six casualties from unexploded submunitions have been recorded since the 1970s, including one in 2012.[8]

Victim Assistance

There is no current estimate of the number of mine/ERW survivors in Syria. Previous estimates of the total number of survivors range from 210 to 330.[9] No information was available on efforts made in 2012 to collect data on mine/ERW survivors or to assess their needs.

The number of persons with disabilities due to the conflict was not fully documented. In addition to physical effects, many groups reported elevated levels of psychological trauma.[10] Handicap International (HI) noted “a patent lack of immediate rehabilitation and psychosocial relief” despite the rising number of conflict-injured people within Syria and those fleeing to neighboring countries.[11]

Insecurity and conflict in Syria affected access to essential medical interventions and medical equipment. There were severe shortages of medicine and medical supplies, as well as the inability of many health workers to access their workplaces. These difficulties were exacerbated by overall disruptions to the health system. A lack of fuel and cuts in electricity forced many hospitals to operate at reduced capacity. A continuously growing number of patients also strained the limited health resources available.[12] Medical personnel and hospitals were deliberately targeted and access to medical services was denied. The attacks on hospitals and clinics further reduced the provision of basic assistance to injured persons.[13] According to reports by the Ministry of Health, 57% of public hospitals were affected, of which 20% were damaged, and 37% were out of service. Trauma injuries remained high-priority needs.[14]

The ICRC also expressed grave concern about the lack of protection for medical services in Syria. It reported that the security conditions prevented the organization of war surgery seminars and the deployment of a mobile surgical team. People were prevented by the security situation from seeking treatment at those government facilities that remained open; they relied mainly on National Society emergency health facilities supported by the ICRC. Emergency rooms were built in Damascus and Homs. Fully-equipped mobile health units were operated by National Red Crescent Society branches in the Aleppo, Hama, Homs, and Tartous governorates. ICRC-supplied emergency medical care kits allowed for the treatment of several thousand weapon-wounded patients, mainly in Damascus, Rural Damascus, and Homs.[15]

In 2012, HI began providing assistance for refugees from the Syrian conflict in Jordan and Lebanon, including specifically assisting the needs of survivors. During the year, HI extended its activities to working inside Syria.[16] HI started physical rehabilitation activities, including prosthetics and psychosocial support for Syrian refugees in Turkey in December 2012.[17] In 2013, HI reported that it was the only organization providing post-surgery emergency rehabilitation care to conflict victims in the north of Syria. It was common for people provided with rehabilitation and prosthetic devices to have suffered multiple amputations, having lost both legs, or an arm and a leg.[18] HI interventions included the identification of persons with injuries and/or disabilities at the hospital, camp, and community levels; provision of rehabilitation, including training and counseling for those people identified and their caregivers; distribution of mobility devices and provision of prostheses; direct provision of individual psychosocial support sessions at rehabilitation centers and at the community level; and training of health providers and psychosocial support workers in North Syria and Turkey.[19]

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is responsible for assisting persons with disabilities and worked through dedicated charities and organizations to provide assistance. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities and seeks to integrate them into the public sector workforce.[20]

Syria ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 10 July 2009.


[1] The civilian status of two casualties was not known. Data is based on Monitor analysis of media reports found during media scanning for calendar year 2012.

[2] See: “UNMAS, Syria: situation analysis and needs,” updated August 2013.

[3] Email from Dr. Hosam Doughouz, Health Officer, Quneitra Health Directorate, 12 May 2010.

[6]Citizen Injured from Israel Left-over Mine Explosion in Quneitra,” SANA (Quneitra), 6 May 2011. In the article, Omar al-Heibi, head of the board of the General Association for Rehabilitation of Mine-caused Injuries, states that there have been a total of 660 mine casualties (220 killed; 440 injured) as of May 2011, including a man injured in 2011.

[7] The age was reported for 84 cluster munition strike casualties in 2012.

[8] Handicap International (HI), Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities (Brussels: HI, May 2007), p. 132.

[9] “A Syrian Severely Wounded by Landmines left by Israeli Occupation Troops in Quneitra,” SANA (Quneitra), 17 June 2008, www.sana.sy; and email from Dr. Doughouz, Quneitra Health Directorate, 23 February 2009.

[10] United States (US) Department of State, “2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Syria,” Washington, DC, 17 April 2013.

[12] UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “Syrian Arab Republic: Health Sector Update (September 2013).”

[14] UN, “Syrian Arab Republic Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP) January - December 2013 (Revised),” Prepared in Coordination amongst the Syrian Government, UN System, and other humanitarian actors in Syria, 5 June 2013, p. 24.

[15] ICRC, “Annual Report 2012,” Geneva, May 2013, p. 446; and ICRC, “Syria: Timely access to health-care services a matter of life or death,” 1 April 2013.

[20] US Department of State, “2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Syria,” Washington, DC, 17 April 2013.