SYRIA: Preliminary Statistical Analysis of Documentation of Killings in the Syrian Arab Republic
Price, Megan, Jeff Klingner, and Patrick Ball
This report presents findings integrated from six databases built by Syrian human rights monitors and one database collected by the Syrian government. The databases collect information about conflict-related violent deaths | killings |- that have been reported in the Syrian Arab Republic between March 2011 and November 2012. Although conflict conditions make it difficult to identify an accurate record of events, governmental and non-governmental monitors are persevering in gathering information about killings through a variety of sources and venues. The purpose of the report is to explore the state of documentation, the quantitative relationship of the sources to each other, and to highlight how understanding of the conflict may be affected due to variations in documentation practices.
This report examines only the killings that are fully identified by the name of the victim, as well as the date and location of death. Reported killings that are missing any of this information were excluded from this study. This report finds that when the fully identified records were combined and duplicates identified, the seven databases collected here identified 59,648 unique killings.
It should be noted that this count is not the number of conflict-related killings in the Syrian Arab Republic. The statistics may include a small number of undetected duplicates among the unique killings, thus, this count may be slightly too high. More significantly, there is an unknown number of killings which have not yet been documented by any of these seven projects. As each additional dataset has been added over the past few months, previously undocumented deaths have been reported. The statistics presented in this report should be considered minimum bounds. This report provides comparative statistical analyses of all seven datasets, including patterns of documented killings over time, as well as by geography, sex and age of the victims (in Section 2). A detailed analysis of how the datasets overlap with each other is presented in Section 3; the overlap analysis helps explain how the various data sources each capture distinct aspects of the total universe of killings.
Benetech // Human Rights Data Analysis Group (2 January 2013)