Armed conflicts in 2023 highest since end of WWII — study

Agence France-Presse
Armed conflicts in 2023 highest since end of WWII � study
Smoke plumes billow following Israeli bombardment in Gaza City on Oct. 11, 2023 on the fifth day of fighting between Israel and the Hamas movement. Israel declared war on Hamas on October 8 following a shock land, air and sea assault by the Gaza-based Islamists.
AFP / Mahmud Hams

OSLO, Norway — More armed conflicts took place worldwide in 2023 than any other year since the end of the Second World War, according to a Norwegian study published Monday.

Last year saw 59 conflicts of which 28 were in Africa, the the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO) showed.

But the number of countries which experienced conflicts declined from 39 in 2022 to 34.

The number of deaths in combat also halved to around 122,000 over the previous year, according to data collected by Sweden's Uppsala University from NGOs and international organisations.

That number remained nonetheless the third highest since 1989, against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement.

"Violence in the world is at an all-time high since the end of the Cold War," said Siri Aas Rustad, PRIO researcher and the main author of the report covering trends during the period 1946-2023.

"The figures suggest that the conflict landscape has become increasingly complex, with more conflict actors operating within the same country," she explained.

According to PRIO, the increase in the number of conflicts can be partially attributed to the Islamic State spreading across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and the involvement of a growing number of non-state actors such as the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM).

"This development makes it increasingly difficult for actors like aid groups and civil society organisations to manoeuvre the conflict landscape and improve the lives of ordinary people," Rustad said.

While the number of combat deaths decreased last year, the accumulated number for the past three years is the highest for a three-year period in 30 years.

A total of 28 armed conflicts were registered in Africa, followed by Asia with 17, the Middle East with 10, Europe with three and the Americas with one.

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