Six conflicts account for 80 pct of global conflict fatalities: IISS

LONDON, May 5 (KUNA) — Across the world, 167,000 people died in armed conflicts in 2015, according to an authoritative report here Thursday.
However, the latest edition of The International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) Armed Conflict Survey asserted that governments retook territory from insurgents, often with the help of allies.
Turning to the number of fatalities, the renowned think tank, which concentrates on strategic affairs said one-third of the deaths occurred in Syria, where the death toll was 55,000.
This figure was lower than 2014, but still accounted for 66% of fatalities in the Middle East and North Africa, and 33% of global fatalities, according to the new data published by the London-based independent Institute.
In the meantime, conflicts in Mexico and Central America accounted for 21% of global fatalities, with a combined death toll in excess of 34,000, the research added.
On the other hand, fatalities fell sharply across sub-Saharan Africa-despite a ramp-up in deaths in Nigeria’s war with Boko Haram-as de-escalation and/or conflict resolution took hold in Somalia, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. The institute said that the largest year-on-year increase in fatalities was seen in Afghanistan, which registered 15,000 deaths as a direct result of the conflict.
This compares with just 3,500 in 2013, underlining the deterioration in security since the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)) began its withdrawal in earnest.
Six conflicts: Syria, Iraq, Central America, Mexico, Afghanistan and Nigeria’s battle with Boko Haram, accounted for nearly 80 percent of conflict fatalities, the report went on.
However, responding to territorial gains made by Daesh and other groups, states went onto the offensive.
Launching the survey at a press briefing, Dr John Chipman, Director General and Chief Executive of IISS, said “2015was the year that, for better or worse, the state struck back in many of the world’s largest armed conflicts, making territorial gains in the face of considerable resistance”.
He cited Iraq , Syria, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen as examples.
“Often this was achieved with the help of foreign allies”, he added, pointing to Russia’s intervention in Syria, the role of Iranian forces in Iraq, and offensives by African Union forces in Nigeria and Somalia. He suggested that one of the consequences of increased military pressure on Daesh in Syria and Iraq has been a displacement effect.
Dr Chipman noted that Daesh has secured a “growing foothold” Libya.
Yet, he suggested that Daesh has struggled achieve the same level of control there as in its home region.
“Its fighters there are seen as outsider”, observed Dr Chipman “and society lacks the sectarian division on which the Jihadists have fed in Iraq and Syria”.
On the global number of refugees and internally displaced people, he said that this has surged from 33 million in 2013 to 43 million in 2014 and 46 million by mid-2015.
He made it clear that preventing forced displacement requires effective pressure on conflict parties to follow the Geneva Conventions, securing better access to conflict zones for humanitarian relief, and greater political action to de-escalate and resolve conflicts.
The IISS Armed Conflict Survey (ACS) provides in-depth analysis of the political, military and humanitarian dimensions of all global major armed conflicts, as well as data on fatalities, refugees and internally displaced persons, the report indicated. (end) he.nfm

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