From 2000 to 2005, Syria was a typical Middle Eastern nation,
with increasing prosperity and quality of life. However, in 2006, the worst drought of the
century struck, setting off increasing tensions between the government and a disillusioned
In March of 2011, the Syrian Civil War began. Since then, its effects have been
felt around the world, with constant media attention to the conflict prompting worldwide
involvement. While it’s easy to fixate on the chronological progression of gruesome crisis
after crisis, it is important to keep in mind the broad effects of the war, and the global
response that will determine its resolution.
Our focus must be on the lives of the Syrian people, and how we can help.
To understand the circumstances surrounding the civil war and its implications
across the globe, we look at three main questions...
How Has the War Impacted Syrian Development Compared To Other Countries?
Looking at the Local Impacts of Conflict
Gross National Income
GNI is a measure of economic output created by a country in a given year.
Syria was an upper-middle income country, with an increasing GNI.
Since the war began it has become a lower-middle income country as its GNI free falls.
Syrian life expectancy was rising until 2005 but it decreased during the
drought starting in 2006 and remained low.
Expected Years of Schooling
Syrian life expectancy was fairly high until 2012, but the civil war
has cost many Syrian children their educations.
Infant Mortality Rate
Infant mortality rate is the number of children who die before the age of 5 per 1,000 live births.
The infant mortality rate in Syria decreased by over 30% between 2000 and 2010
but has been nearly stagnant since 2011.
Human Development Index
HDI is an aggregate measure of many development statistics.
Syria's HDI increased until 2006, plateaued during the drought and
has plummeted during the war.
How Does the Syrian Civil War Affect the Rest of the World?
Global Reaction to the Syrian Refugee Crisis
Before the Civil War
The number of Syrian refugees has stayed at a steady amount per year up to 2010,
with a few hundred in the Middle East, several hundred in the United States, and
around ten thousand going to Europe.
The First Refugees
The Arab Spring uprisings lead to protests in Syria in 2011, prompting the nation into a civil war.
Citizens seek refuge in surrounding Middle Eastern countries.
Migration to the West
Refugee numbers in the Middle East grow to hundreds of thousands in 2012. Syrians migrate to
Europe, the United States, and Canada. Many are turned away and relocate to other parts of Syria, leading
to 2 million internally displaced Syrian refugees.
Syrian Refugee Crisis
In 2013, Syrians seek asylum in more places around the world. Libya, which had taken in
no Syrian refugees up to this point, now takes in 16 thousand. The number of internally displaced
refugees grows to 6 million, more than the number of Syrian refugees in the rest of the world combined.
How Have Western Countries Responded to the Conflict in Syria?
Economic Aid from the United States and Around the World
Pre-Civil War Donors
Since 2000, France has consistently given a relatively high amount of aid to Syria,
leading in financial support for most of the early and mid 2000's.
On the other hand, the United States begins as a non-existent contributor.
Primary Civil War Contributors
The United States becomes Syria's most prominent donor by a large margin during the civil war.
The United Kingdom and Germany, also significantly increase the amount of aid they give after
Although Franace falls in rank relative to these new leaders in Syrian aid, it
continues to provide the same level of support it always had,
remaining constant from the beginning through the end of our data.
Even with currently 11 million Syrian refugees who have found asylum by 2016,
6 million of those are internally displaced and 13.5 million more are still in need of humanitarian aid,
and despite the amount of economic aid we are sending to Syria, the country’s health has continued to
steadily decline since the start of the war.
The current political climate among the main donor countries is focused on blaming
other countries for global problems and using blame to justify their own lack of action. Stable and economically
well-off Western countries have the resources to do more and should shift their focus to work towards a resolution.
As the effects of the conflict continue to grow, it is increasingly important for everyone to do what they
can to help.