Sharp decline in Iraq, Syria terror deaths last year

Fighters of Syrian Democratic Forces ride atop of an armored vehicle after Raqqa was liberated from ISIS on October 17, 2017. (Reuters)

Iraq and Syria saw a sharp drop in the number of people killed in terror attacks last year, a report published Thursday by Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre has found.

Despite ongoing violence in both countries, there was a fall in the number of deaths in attacks by non-state actors such as ISIS.

In Iraq 3,378 were killed in militant attacks last year, a fall of 60 percent compared to 8,437 fatalities in 2016, according to research by the London-based center. A similar trend was charted in Syria, where there was a drop of nearly 44 percent.

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In total 3,641 people were killed in terrorism and insurgency in 2017, down from 6,477 the previous year.

The report does not include militants who died in attacks, nor the substantial number of people killed in government-led air strikes in countries such as Syria.

Despite losing significant territory in the two countries last year, ISIS continued as the world’s most active terror organization by number of attacks.

A Syrian member of the Roj mine clearing organization works at removing IEDs and mines planted by ISIS in Hassakeh province, on October 27, 2016. (AFP)

A Syrian member of the Roj mine clearing organization works at removing IEDs and mines planted by ISIS in Hassakeh province, on October 27, 2016. (AFP)

Transition to insurgence

“As it came under growing territorial pressure, ISIS transitioned back to insurgent operations, conducting a higher tempo of low intensity violence against security forces and non-state adversaries in areas newly recaptured from the group,” said Matthew Henman, head of the research center.

The group killed 6,499 people in attacks last year – a 40 percent decrease compared to 2016, despite upping the number of assaults by nine percent to 4,612 last year.

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Although Iraq and Syria experienced a fall in the number of deaths in militant attacks, the scale of terrorism and insurgency in the two countries remained unparalleled globally.

Comparatively, in Afghanistan 2,299 people were killed last year, followed by 1,466 fatalities in Somalia, and 1,092 in Yemen.

Globally there was a downward trend of fatalities from militant attacks, from 27,697 in 2016 to 18,475 last year.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:56 - GMT 06:56
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