Syria’s Deaths at Wartime Low in 2018 as Assad Regains Control

Nearly 20,000 killed in 2018, the fewest in eight years of war

The Syrian Observatory has estimated that in 2018, nearly 20,000 people were killed in Syria, with around 6,500 of them civilians. That may sound like an enormous death toll, but it is actually the lowest of the entire Syrian War.

It is a major drop from 2017, when 33,400 were killed, and 10,000 of them were civilians. 2018 saw some large displacements of civilians, but not nearly so many deaths, as gains by the Assad government have brought much of the country under their control.

Decisive rebel losses in the southwest have confined non-ISIS rebels mostly to Idlib Province and the surrounding area. ISIS no longer has meaningful territory, which limits the fighting in the country’s west to just a few small towns near the Iraq border.

With less and less territory being fought over, the death toll ideally will continue to decline into 2019, though a threatened invasion by Turkey and fighting over the Kurdish YPG’s territory may temporarily increase the amount of territory up for grabs, and by extension the amount of fighting going on.

Still, this is the lowest death toll of the entire war, meaning it’s the least deaths Syria has seen in the past eight years. Estimates have put the overall war’s toll in excess of 500,000, though exact figures are impossible to confirm, and may never be known.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of