100 results for search: Syria


Syria: No word on four abducted activists

Razan Zatouneh is an esteemed colleague of ours, and we are one of 57 organizations demanding immediate release for her and the three other human rights defenders still missing. A year on, no information on Douma Four The prominent Syrian human rights defenders Razan Zaitouneh, Samira Khalil, Wa’el Hamada and Nazem Hamadi – the Douma Four—remain missing a year after their abduction, 57 organizations said today. The four were abducted in Duma, a city near Damascus under the control of armed opposition groups. They should be released immediately, the groups said. On 9 December 2013, at about 10:40 pm, a group of armed men stormed into the ...

14 Questions about Counting Casualties in Syria

In early 2012, HRDAG was commissioned by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to do an enumeration project, essentially a count of all of the reported casualties in the Syrian conflict. HRDAG has published two analyses so far, the first in January 2013, and the second in June 2013. In this post, HRDAG scientists Anita Gohdes, Megan Price, and Patrick Ball answer questions about that project. So, how many people have been killed in the Syrian conflict? This is a complicated question. As of our last report, in June 2013, we know that there have been at least 93,000 reported, identifiable conflict-related casualties. The ...

Rapid response to: Civilian deaths from weapons used in the Syrian conflict

On November 4, 2015, the BMJ published our "Rapid Response" to Civilian deaths from weapons used in the Syrian conflict (BMJ 2015;351:h4736). The response was co-authored by Megan Price, Anita Gohdes, Jay Aronson (Carnegie Mellon University, Center for Human Rights Science), and Christopher McNaboe (Carter Center, Syria Conflict Mapping Project). We have three concerns about this article. First, the article apportions responsibility for casualties to particular perpetrator organizations based on a single snapshot of territorial control that ignores the numerous (and well-documented) changes in this phenomenon over time. Second, combining Syrian ...

How we go about estimating casualties in Syria—Part 1

I spent the two weeks over Easter working with Patrick and Megan in San Francisco, trying to figure out a strategy of how best to estimate the number of casualties the Syrian civil war has claimed in the past two years. In January, HRDAG published a report on the number of fully identified casualties reported in the Syrian Arab Republic between March 2011 and November 2012. The number of de-duplicated records of killings for this period was 59,648, a number that is likely to be an undercount since we know that many incidences of lethal violence in conflict go unreported, and that the unreported cases are not missing at random. (more…)

Syria

On the heels of the Arab Spring revolutions, which began in December 2010, armed conflicts began in Syria in March 2011. What started as protests demanding that President Bashar al-Assad resign resulted in the deployment of the Syrian Army to stop the uprising. Since then, violent conflict has been raging in Syria. Amid this continuing violence and humanitarian crisis, local human rights activists and citizen journalists risk their lives to document human rights violations. The grave challenges they face are compounded by the regime's active suppression of information flow out of the country. As a result, there is considerable uncertainty about the ...

Updated Casualty Count for Syria

Today the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released an HRDAG-prepared report that describes and tallies documented killings in the Syrian Arab Republic from the beginning of the conflict in March 2011 through April 2014. (The report is here.) This is our third report for the UN on the Syrian conflict, and it is an update of work we published in January 2013 and June 2013. The report, Updated Statistical Analysis of Documentation of Killings in the Syrian Arab Republic, concludes that approximately 191,000 identifiable victims have been reported in the period covered (March 2011 – April 2014). (more…)

Syria 2012 – Modeling Multiple Datasets in an Ongoing Conflict

The struggle between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and opposition forces has generated extensive global press coverage, but few accurate estimates of casualties. In January 2013, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a report on the number of conflict-related killings in Syria. The UN report is based on statistical analysis conducted by HRDAG scientists Megan Price, Jeff Klingner and Patrick Ball. This chapter examines HRDAG’s findings which compared information from a database collected by the Syrian government with six databases compiled by Syrian human rights activists and citizen ...

Transitional Justice in Syria: Accountability and Reconciliation Conference

I spent last weekend in Istanbul at an excellent conference organized by the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies (SCPSS). The conference included numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from Syria as well as international human rights researchers and advocates. Families of victims told their stories, data collection groups discussed the challenges, and need, to document violations, transitional justice experts worried about infrastructure such as the police force and judicial system, and local leaders pledged to work together for peace. I was invited to speak about HRDAG's recent report examining killings in Syria documented by ...

UN Raises Estimate of Dead in Syrian Conflict to 191,000

Nick Cumming-Bruce of the New York Times writes about the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Right’s release of HRDAG’s third report on reported killings in the Syrian conflict.
From the article:
In its third report on Syria commissioned by the United Nations, the Human Rights Data Analysis Group identified 191,369 deaths from the start of the conflict in March 2011 to April 2014, more than double the 92,901 deaths cited in their last report, which covered the first two years of the conflict.
“Tragically, it is probably an underestimate of the real total number of people killed during the first three years of this murderous conflict,” Ms. Pillay said in a statement that accompanied the report, which observed that many killings in Syria were undocumented.


A better statistical estimation of known Syrian war victims

Researchers from Rice University and Duke University are using the tools of statistics and data science in collaboration with Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) to accurately and efficiently estimate the number of identified victims killed in the Syrian civil war.

Using records from four databases of people killed in the Syrian war, Chen, Duke statistician and machine learning expert Rebecca Steorts and Rice computer scientist Anshumali Shrivastava estimated there were 191,874 unique individuals documented from March 2011 to April 2014. That’s very close to the estimate of 191,369 compiled in 2014 by HRDAG, a nonprofit that helps build scientifically defensible, evidence-based arguments of human rights violations.


Syrian civil war death toll exceeds 190,000, U.N. reports

Ayan Sheikh of PBS News Hour reports on the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Right’s release of HRDAG’s third report on reported killings in the Syrian conflict.
From the article:
The latest death toll figure covers the period from March 2011 to April of this year, came from the Human Rights Data Analysis Group and is the third study of its kind on Syria. The analysis group identified 191,269 deaths. Data was collected from five different sources to exclude inaccuracies and repetitions.


UN Raises Estimate of Dead in Syrian Conflict to 191,000

Nick Cumming-Bruce of the New York Times writes about the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Right's release of HRDAG's third report on reported killings in the Syrian conflict. From the article: In its third report on Syria commissioned by the United Nations, the Human Rights Data Analysis Group identified 191,369 deaths from the start of the conflict in March 2011 to April 2014, more than double the 92,901 deaths cited in their last report, which covered the first two years of the conflict. “Tragically, it is probably an underestimate of the real total number of people killed during the first three years of this murderous conflict,” ...

HRDAG and Amnesty International: Prison Mortality in Syria

Today Amnesty International released “‘It breaks the human’: Torture, disease and death in Syria’s prisons ,” a report detailing the conditions and mortality in Syrian prisons from 2011 to 2015, including data analysis conducted by HRDAG. The report provides harrowing accounts of ill treatment of detainees in Syrian prisons since the conflict erupted in March 2011, and publishes HRDAG’s estimate of the number of killings that occurred inside the prisons. To accompany the report, HRDAG has released a technical memo that explains the methodology, sources, and implications of the findings. The HRDAG team used data from four ...

Amnesty International Reports Organized Murder Of Detainees In Syrian Prison

100x100nprReports of torture and disappearances in Syria are not new. But the Amnesty International report says the magnitude and severity of abuse has “increased drastically” since 2011. Citing the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, the report says “at least 17,723 people were killed in government custody between March 2011 and December 2015, an average of 300 deaths each month.”


Syrian civil war death toll exceeds 190,000, U.N. reports

Ayan Sheikh of PBS News Hour reports on the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Right’s release of HRDAG’s third report on reported killings in the Syrian conflict. From the article: The latest death toll figure covers the period from March 2011 to April of this year, came from the Human Rights Data Analysis Group and is the third study of its kind on Syria. The analysis group identified 191,269 deaths. Data was collected from five different sources to exclude inaccuracies and repetitions. PBS News Hour Ayan Sheikh August 22, 2014 Link to story on PBS News Hour Related blogpost (Updated Casualty Count for Syria) Back to Press Room

Counting Casualties in Syria

Today the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a report prepared by me and my colleagues describing the current state of reported killings in the Syrian Arab Republic from the beginning of the conflict in March 2011 through April 2013.  (UN news release here.) This report is an update of work we published in January 2013.  This updated analysis includes records from eight data sources documenting a total of 92,901 reported killings. Our analysis begins with 263,055 total records reported by the eight data sources that include sufficient identifying information (name, date, and location*) to conduct ...

How statistics lifts the fog of war in Syria

Megan Price, director of research, is quoted from her Strata talk, regarding how to handle multiple data sources in conflicts such as the one in Syria. From the blogpost:
“The true number of casualties in conflicts like the Syrian war seems unknowable, but the mission of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) is to make sense of such information, clouded as it is by the fog of war. They do this not by nominating one source of information as the “best”, but instead with statistical modeling of the differences between sources.”


Why Just Counting the Dead in Syria Won’t Bring Them Justice

Patrick Ball (2016). Why Just Counting the Dead in Syria Won’t Bring Them Justice. Foreign Policy. October 19, 2016. © 2016 Foreign Policy. 

Patrick Ball (2016). Why Just Counting the Dead in Syria Won’t Bring Them Justice. Foreign Policy. October 19, 2016. © 2016 Foreign Policy


Inside Syria’s prisons, where an estimated 17,723 have died since 2011

100x100-cnnExcerpt from the article: The estimate is based on reports from four organizations investigating deaths in Syria from March 15, 2011, to December, 31, 2015. From those cases, the Human Rights Data Analysis Group identified 12,270 cases with sufficient information to confirm the person was killed in detention. Using a statistical method to estimate how many victims they do not yet know about, the group came up with 17,723 cases.


Why It Took So Long To Update the U.N.-Sponsored Syria Death Count

In this story, Carl Bialik of FiveThirtyEight interviews HRDAG executive director Patrick Ball about the process of de-duplication, integration of databases, and machine-learning in the recent enumeration of reported casualties in Syria.
New reports of old deaths come in all the time, Ball said, making it tough to maintain a database. The duplicate-removal process means “it’s a lot like redoing the whole project each time,” he said.