The New York Times reports: As waves of heavy Russian airstrikes edged closer to the Turkish border on Thursday, a Syrian research group issued a report saying the impact of five years of war in Syria has been even more devastating than already thought.
The report from the Syrian Center for Policy Research said that at least 470,000 Syrians had died as a result of the war, almost twice the 250,000 counted a year and a half ago by the United Nations until it stopped counting because of a lack of confidence in the data.
Life expectancy has dropped 14 years, to 56 from 70, since the war began, with an even deeper plunge for Syrian men, says the report, which the group compiled from its longtime base in the capital, Damascus. It put the war’s economic cost at $255 billion, essentially wiping out the nation’s wealth.
The report stood out because it shows a state in collapse in many ways even though it comes from an organization that was, until recently, based in Damascus, the seat of a government that seeks to control tightly how it is portrayed. The report was released on a day that world leaders were scheduled to meet in Munich, even though hopes that Russia and the United States could agree on a cease-fire were sinking. [Continue reading…]