Last year the number of armed conflicts decreased markedly, at the same time as the number of battle-related deaths in these conflicts increased dramatically, largely due to the situation in Syria. This is described by peace researchers at Uppsala University’s Conflict Data Program (UCDP) in an article recently published in the Journal of Peace Research.
UCDP registered 32 active armed conflicts in 2012, which is a reduction by five since the year before. Despite this the total number of battle-related deaths increased dramatically during the year. Only at six times in the 24 years that have passed since the end of the Cold War has UCDP reported higher levels.
‘It is mostly the war in Syria that has caused this large increase,’ Lotta Themnér, one of the UCDP project leaders, says. ‘Not since the end of the interstate war between Eritrea and Ethiopia in 1999–2001 have we seen a conflict this bloody.’
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