Could there be no one left in Syria by 2031?

(Graphic: Farwa Rizwan / Al Arabiya English)

Five years of civil war have seen Syria’s population shrivel by around a quarter, figures released last year show.

The estimated death toll varies from 250,000 to 470,000, while the UN refugee agency says a total that 11.3 million have been displaced. The refugee agency, the UNCHR, stopped counting Syria’s dead in mid-2014, due to the difficulty of finding accurate data.

According to figures released by the agency on March 3, there are now over 4.8 million registered refugees living abroad.

Based on a back-of-an-envelope calculation by Al Arabiya English, Syria would be entirely uninhabited by 2031, if 2015’s level of emigration were to continue at the same rate – even if the conflict did not cause any more deaths.

Due to the unpredictability of the conflict, a spokesman for UNHCR said that the Swiss-based agency “can’t predict how many people are going to leave any place at any point.”

“We have to follow the situation and be ready for any new arrivals, but we can’t say at this point whether they’ll be more or less,” the spokesman added.

Syria’s life expectancy has also dropped, from 70.5 years in 2010, soon before the war broke out, to 55.4 years in 2015, according to the Syrian Center for Policy Research.

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(Ismaeel Naar contributed to this report)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48