Infographic: Hezbollah fighters killed in Syria
By: Hisham Ashkar
Published Monday, March 31, 2014
What is the death toll of Hezbollah fighters in Syria?
This issue is still a matter of debate since the beginning of Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria on the side of the Syrian regime. And Hezbollah adds to this ambiguity, by not providing any numbers or other comprehensive information.
The only official statement from Hezbollah came in early December 2013, when its secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, revealed that the number is less than 250. Around the same time, Syrian opposition(s) and anti-Hezbollah Lebanese groups claimed that the death toll is higher than 500, and even exceeds the 1,000 threshold. Only the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) was in range with Hezbollah’s declaration. It put the number of deaths at 232 on December 1, 2013. The latest SOHR count on March 13, 2014 stands at the number of 332. (Note that SOHR doesn’t provide any list or details.)
To know the real number of killed Hezbollah fighters, I decided to follow the funerals.
The official Hezbollah news agencies and sites are the primary source of this research. However, they do not cover all funerals, and their information are not categorized, thus making it hard to find all the required data. To complement this research, I looked also into pro-Hezbollah websites, and cross-referenced the information. These websites are rife with mistakes, for example, citing the same killed fighter several times under different combinations of his name, his father’s name, his nom de guerre, etc.
I drew up a list of 322 killed fighters (which is close to the latest SOHR’s figure). For nine of them I couldn’t find funeral information. Usually a funeral takes place in the following days of the fighter’s death. But on several occasions, they were held months later pending the retrieval of the body. Most of the fighters were buried in the place of their origin or of their residency. However, several fighters were buried in the communal Hezbollah cemetery in Ghobeiry, while others were buried, according to their will, in Sayida Zainab.
Of course this is not an exhaustive list, and the numbers can be higher, but for sure they are much less than what most anti-Hezbollah groups claim. In this sense, we have to congratulate Hezbollah, since the figure advanced by his secretary general is the closest to reality … a reality that left dead young men in nearly every village and town in South Lebanon and Baalbek.
To check the list and references, please follow this link.
Click the image below to view in full size:
This infographic was originally published on the author's blog.
Hisham Ashkar is an architect and urban planner, currently pursuing a PhD in Urban Planning at HafenCity Universität - Hamburg.