Demographic Engineering in the Course of Syria’ War report

Since the Syrian conflict started a decade ago, three-in-five Syrians fled their homes, some of which were forced to flee more than once. Sixty percent of the population or fourteen million have been displaced and stranded inside the country or turned into refugees. As for the urban destruction, the World Bank estimated in its presser, “The Visible Impacts of the Syrian War May Only be the Tip of the Iceberg” that as of 2017 about a third of the housing stock and about half of medical and education facilities were completely or partially destroyed. The 82-page report, “Demographic Engineering in the Course of Syria’ War: A consequence or cause” analyses the processes of population displacement and urban destruction in the context of the deliberate change of the demographic structure in Syria, from the perspective of Demographic Engineering.

Most of the research and reporting on the Syrian regime’s bombardment and destruction of residential areas focuses on the use of indiscriminate bombardment as a systematic policy in the regime’s war in urban areas, to prove war crimes. This literature supposes that the Assad’s regime war tactics and practices are deployed mainly for military reasons related to achieving military victory, at any costs, including through war crimes, with the aim of proving the systematic indiscriminate bombardment policy as a basis for criminalizing the Syrian government for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

However, this evidence and identification of the government’s intent behind the mass destruction of civilian objects do not play the main role in proving the scheme of demographic engineering that is being widely conducted. 

The government’s post-destruction policies in devastated areas, including what it calls reconstruction, and what we explain in detail in this report as a continuation of urbicide, in which we analyse and reveal the link between the locations of the previous and recent organizational plans and the areas of destruction and demolition since 2011, are the basis for proving that the Syrian government is committing discriminatory demographic engineering to consolidate its control at the expense of the population. This report also analyses the relationship between the organizational plans before and after 2011, and the destroyed areas after 2011, and argues that whether the relation was a correlation or causation, it is how the Syrian regime acts after the destruction that eliminates the need to prove causation to proves the regime’s implementation of discriminatory demographic engineering.

This report traces the paths of the demographic change prior to and during the conflict and defines modern concepts of demographic engineering and urbicide in Syria. and it does not address the natural causes of demographic change, such as births, natural migration to and/or from cities, climatic causes, etc., but focuses on deliberate efforts for demographic change, that is, demographic engineering. The report also highlights the role of political, religious, racial and mixed attitudes that were used as motives and tools for displacement and for committing atrocities that forced residents to leave their homes and areas.

In its conclusion, the report makes recommendations to the parties to the conflict, the international community, and other stakeholders.

Read the full report