Syrian Martyrs: Popular Uprising & Collective Punishment

According to, one of the key initiatives dedicated to documenting and verifying the human cost of the Syrian revolution, 18,408 have been martyred as of July 1, 2012 since the uprising began in March 2011.

In the nation of ~23 million people, the number is staggering and upon deeper analysis it becomes quickly apparent that every corner of Syria has suffered from the Assad regime onslaught – across all 14 provinces, all walks of life, all sects.

Syrian Martyrs

Geographical Distribution of Martyrs:

  • Homs province, the heart of the revolution, is hardest hit with 6,681 (36%) martyrs
  • Idleb province has suffered heavily for their freedom with 3,095 (17%) martyrs
  • Damascus (360) & ‘Reef Dimashq’ (1,976) provinces, combined, have lost 13% of the martyrs in Syria – so much for the myth that Damascenes haven’t risen up!
  • Hama province, continues to bleed for Syria, is third on the list with 2,103 (11%) martyrs
  • Daraa province – the sparkplug for the revolution has 1,802 (10%) martyrs
  • Deir Ezzour province, which Assad forces haven’t been able to suppress, has 884 (5%) martyrs
  • Aleppo (Halab) province, with revolutionary momentum building, is slipping away slowly from Assad and has 744 (4%) martyrs
  • Latakia 388, Qunaitra 118, AlHasakeh 101, AlRaqqah 85, Tartous 64, and AlSuwaida 7, all have tasted the brutality of the regime’s response to dissent

Sadly, we all know the number of those murdered is much higher – hundreds of thousands are detained and missing – many of those people are victims of torture and only God knows how many are already dead.

Trauma of the Living

The number of martyrs does not alone accurately reflect the level of the brutality inflicted on the population. There are countless wounded whose injuries may heal over time for some, never for others (thousands are now permanently disabled); and for the tens of thousands of survivors of torture, for the thousands of Syrian women (and men) who have been raped by Assad forces, their emotional scars will never heal. There are also over 1 million internally displaced refugees in addition to the 200,000 externally displaced refugees whose lives, families and communities have been forever torn apart.

Popular Uprising and Collective Punishment

What can be assessed, however, from the sacrifices of 18,408 martyrs is how widespread the revolution is, and how the regime collectively punishes all those who stand against them – regardless of background or geography.

While the Assad regime continues to burn the country, the popular uprising continues to grow with every martyr. And what began as a revolution for ‘dignity’ is now a personal struggle for millions of Syrians whose lives are directly impacted by regime repression.

Visit for daily updates on Syria’s martyrs.

To the highest heavens…RIP.

4 thoughts on “Syrian Martyrs: Popular Uprising & Collective Punishment

  1. The overall numbers are just staggering and boggle-the-mind. 18,408 in a country of just 23 million? That’s the equivalent of nearly 250,000 dead Americans if you were to scale this oppression to the USA!

    The untold story, as this article correctly points out, is the tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands being jailed and tortured in Syrian “detention centers” across the country. Their mental anguish, trauma, and injuries will negatively impact Syria for years to come and give rise to all kinds of acts of retaliation and increased sectarianism. Read the horrific details in this detailed 84-page report from an independent and credible source, Human Rights Watch:

    Click to access syria0712webwcover.pdf

    However, I believe the numbers also do show the vast majority of deaths OUTSIDE of the urban centers of Damascus and Aleppo. Considering these two cities may contain 30% – 50% of the entire Syrian population, only 6% of the accounted for deaths come from these two cities! And it’s likely a significant chunk of that 6% is from outside of Aleppo and Damascus proper (the Aleppo countryside for example). This helps explain why the struggle has continued for as long as it had: Syrians outside of Aleppo and Damascus almost certainly know of a significant friend or family member killed by the regime, leading to significant regime opposition and bearing of arms. Syrians in Aleppo and Damascus have been largely spared from widespread massacres and deaths, instead having to deal only with less deadly “inconveniences” such as a wave of kidnappings, fuel shortages, and price increases. Regime shabiha thugs and security forces in these two cities have been quick to extinguish any protests before they can grow larger and spread.

    The revolution may yet succeed without a widespread, vocal, and sustained uprising in Damascus and Aleppo (which would sadly result in the deaths of many Damascenes and Aleppians, leveling this martyrs map no doubt). The increased deterioration of the Syrian Army, for example, could eventually reach a tipping point, combined with perhaps increased pressure from Russia. However, the ability of the regime to persevere should not be underestimated. Only when the people of Aleppo and Damascus rise up in large numbers will the Syrian Revolution be assured of victory.


    1. Hello Nizar, and thank you for your thoughts, and sharing links to the HRW reports.

      Resistance in Halab, and Damascus do not always take on the same shape as the rest of the country, and should not be judged purely by the gruesome numbers identified in this post.

      Damascus is the center of security, center of the government, and therefore the daily protests are more fluid, creative and more nimble than elsewhere. The regime has also invested heavily in Halab to ensure the city power brokers stay loyal (this “investment” is obviously showing less dividends however, as we’ve seen with the increased civil resistance over the past months).

      With this being said, it is important to note that so many people from ‘Reef Dimashq’ are actually Damascenes who have been gentrified out over the past decade – especially in areas like Douma, Zamalka etc…. Additionally, while considered the outskirts, or suburbs of Damascus, these areas which have suffered tremendously from the regime brutality are literally a 5-10 minute drive from downtown Damascus. To illustrate these points within the context of this post, I combined the %’s of the two provinces together.

      It would be enlightening to see a geographical breakdown of the detained, as so many of Halabis and Damascenes are currently detained as we speak…another indication of collective punishment, and resistance.

      Thank you.


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