How Data Scientists Are Uncovering War Crimes in Syria

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai at Mashable: “For more than three years, Syria has been crippled by a bloody civil war that has laid waste to cities and exacted a heavy civilian toll. But because reporting in Syria is so dangerous, the bloodletting has largely taken place away from the media spotlight. One group of researchers, though, is determined to document every single killing.
Through painstaking data-gathering and assiduous verification, the group Syrian Tracker has tallied 111,915 deaths in the course of the conflict so far.
Syria Tracker gets reports from eyewitnesses and volunteers on the ground. Researchers also cull data from news reports.
The database has yielded some important insights such as possible war crimes committed by the Syrian regime.
Working in collaboration with researchers from the nonprofit organization, the researchers discovered that more women were getting killed in the conflict. In April of 2011, women made up only 1% of those killed. Today, 13% of victims are women, according to the latest data.

Syria Female Deaths

Image: SumAll

Those numbers alone don’t tell the whole story, though. Taking a closer look at how women were killed, the researchers discovered a pattern. Women weren’t random victims of bombings for example. Instead, many were killed by snipers, indicating a deliberate policy to go after female civilians, which would constitute a war crime.
Data on how children were killed suggest a similar conclusions. Of the thousands killed in the conflict, at least 700 have been summarily executed and tortured, and about 200 boys under the age of 13 have been killed by sniper fire, according to the data…”