Syrian Observatory Guess: Over 370,000 Killed in Syria War

Syrian Military Takes the Brunt of Combatant Losses

The latest Syrian Observatory report on Syria has revised the overall death toll of the five year civil war upwards, to 370,000. The group only documented 270,000 deaths, however, and just tacked another 100,000 on to try to cover the deaths they didn’t hear about.

Of the 270,000, however, just under half were civilians, 122,997. Among combatants, the Syrian military continued to take the bigger losses, with over 55,000 troops killed, alongside over 1,000 Hezbollah and nearly 4,000 other Shi’ite militia allies.

Islamist factions, including ISIS and the Nusra Front, took the next biggest hit, at about 44,000, while secular and moderate rebels amounted to around another 38,000, along with about 2,500 defectors from the military.

With so many factions and so much fighting, it is likely to be impossible to ever have a full picture of the overall casualties of the civil war, but the reports likely do provide insight into the broader trends of the war, including the massive losses suffered by various factions. The Syrian military is likely the most effected, as not only are they losing the most fighters, but aren’t getting influxes of foreign fighters at the rate ISIS or other rebel groups are.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.