World Facts

The World's Most War-Torn Countries

Ranked by death tolls from both civil conflicts and official wars in recent years, the ongoing fights in Syria still leave it as the most war-ravaged country.

10. Central African Republic

The Central African Republic, a landlocked country in Africa, has for long been involved in a series of military coups and rebellions that have ravaged the economy of the nation, causing widespread instability in the country. Currently, the country is in the grip of an ongoing civil war being fought between the government forces and the Séléka rebel coalition. The war, which started on December 10th, 2012, has witnessed the rapid growth of the Séléka rebels who were held responsible for the wanton destruction of a large number of towns and villages in the country and the murder of thousands of innocent civilians. Approximately 508,000 people had been internally displaced in the Central African Republic by August of 2014 due to the civil war. The rebels had also threatened aid workers and looted aid convoys. In September of 2014, the United Nations initiated the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the country to restore peace and stability within the nation.

9. Federal Republic of Somalia

The African country of Somalia had witnessed tough times in the past, including civil wars, failed governments, state collapses, clan wars, and severe famines. Presently, this African nation is under the influence of the Somali Civil War which started in 2009 between the forces of the Federal Government of Somalia and several militant Islamic groups. The war has claimed many civilian lives in the country, and displaced many Somalis from their homes. Somalia, weakened by the lengthened war and the resulting impoverishment, has lost nearly 260,000 people to famine between 2010 and 2012. Around 4.6% of the entire population, and 10% of all Somalian children under the age of five, have suffered death from famine during this period. The war situation continues to threaten the future of the country and its people, and several international organizations, including the specialized agencies of the United Nations, are making constant efforts to resolve the war issue in the country.

8. The Ukraine

Since its independence from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the Ukrainian People's Republic, due to its strategic location between the superpowers of Russia and Germany, has been treated as a buffer state by the powerful forces of Russia and the NATO block. In the early 1930s, Ukraine’s economy reeled under the pressure of the Russian dictator Stalin’s exploitative policies. During the span of World War II, Nazis invaded the country, and millions of Ukrainian Jews were murdered. After the World War, Ukraine witnessed annexation of Ukrainian territory by the Soviet regime. The 1986 Chernobyl Disaster, killing thousands of Ukrainian soldiers, worsened the internal situation in a country already weakened by external pressures. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the signing of the Friendship Treaty with Russia, things appeared to settle down for a bit in Ukraine. However, mass corruption prevailing in the country soon led to widespread angst, confusion, and violent protests within the country. Currently, Ukraine stands torn apart between the influences of the Russian government in the east and the European Union in the west. After Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March of 2014 and a cease-fire violation in Ukraine in September of the same year, Ukraine decided in June of 2015 to bann Russian flights from flying into the country, and also suspended gas purchases from Russia. As tensions continue to rise, only the future can reveal the solution to Ukraine’s problem. Until then, the common people of the Ukraine continue to brace themselves against the tug-of-war between their neighboring rival factions that are using the country to showcase their respecitve power and might.

7. Republic of the Sudan

Like many African countries, the Republic of Sudan continues to experience great losses due to an almost never ending civil war. Two major civil wars between the central Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army had already swept across the country in the recent past. The First Sudanese Civil War (1955-1972) and the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005) witnessed the deaths of at least 2 million Sudanese due to drought, famine, and disease, and the displacement of nearly 4 million people during the same wars. ‘Human rights’ lost its meaning and existence in this country, and slavery and mass killings were the norm of the day. Though the conflict officially ended in January of 2005 by way of the signing of a peace agreement and South Sudan's independence in 2011, the Republic of Sudan has yet not fully recovered from its shaken situation, and continues to engage in conflicts with South Sudan and internal rebel forces alike.

6. Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Though the end of the British Rule in 1947 was met will celebrations in Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan as these countries became independent during this time, the partition of the British Raj into these two countries on the basis of their respective religious majorities also set the stage for unending war and conflict between these two close neighbors. Four wars, including one undeclared war, and several border conflicts between these two countries have claimed the lives of thousands of soldiers and numerous civilians over a long period of time. Presently, a number of major and minor, external and internal, threats continue to plague the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Islamic militants are the biggest problem in the country today, and many violent attacks by these extremists in the country have claimed the lives of many innocent victims. Schools have been bombed, suicide killers have triggered explosions in universities, mosques, and buses, and even children have not been spared, as evidenced by the 2014 Taliban killings of a large number of schoolchildren in a school in Peshawar. The Pakistani Government is in a real dilemma today, facing pressures from international powers to eliminate terrorism from within the country.

5. Republic of South Sudan

After years of struggle and war, South Sudan emerged as an independent nation on July 9th, 2011. However, peace was not to be found in this state, and in December of 2013, the country came under the grips of a severe civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced nearly 1.6 million residents of South Sudan. In 2014, a ceasefire between President Salva Kiir of South Sudan and the rebel leader (his ex-Vice-President, Riek Machar) was signed. However, tension and conflicts continue to ravage the country, and the United Nations Security Council claims that South Sudan currently is facing the worst food crisis in the world.

4. Federal Republic of Nigeria

Nigeria, a country known for its rich natural resources and abundance of wildlife, has served as an attractive tourist destination for many nature lovers. However, even though the country had recovered significantly after the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970), the situation in the country is currently tense, and an atmosphere of fear prevails as the Boko Haram, a terrorist group based in northeastern Nigeria, continues to attack and kill both military forces and civilians in the country. The 2011 Christmas Day bombings that killed 39 innocent civilians, the Maiduguri bombing of army bases, the kidnapping of 200 schoolgirls, and many other such events have created an atmosphere of extreme terror in the country. The 6 year insurgency by this home-grown terror group has claimed nearly 20,000 lives, and displaced nearly 2.5 million Nigerians. Presently, Nigeria and its neighbors are trying to use joint military forces to launch an attack on Boko Haram to eradicate the militants from the country.

3. Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Since the September 2001 attacks by the al-Qaeda terrorists on the United States, Afghanistan became the prime target of the United States, who was determined to eliminate its enemies, especially the band of terrorists led by Osama bin Laden, who were residing in the country. Beginning in 2001, U.S. forces raided Afghanistan to first topple the Taliban and then gradually ensure the complete eradication of Talibans from Afghan territory while rebuilding core institutions in the country. The U.S. also implemented counter-insurgency troops in the country to protect the civilians from Taliban attacks, and to allow the Afghan government to establish it's position in the country in a steady manner. However, despite all of the measures undertaken, insurgency clashes and Taliban attacks continue to persist in the country. The current war situation in Afghanistan continues to claim civilian lives through bombings, crossfires, assassinations, improvised explosive devices, and other means. Around 92,000 civilians were killed and 100,000 injured in the Afghanistan War since 2001. and still more have been sent fleeing their homeland in search of a better life in the Middle East and Western countries.

2. Republic of Iraq

The long history of Iraq has been marred several times by the ravages of war. The Second Kurdish–Iraqi War (1974–1975), the Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988), and the Gulf War (1990–1991) are some of the major wars fought by Iraq in the past century. In 2003, U.S. forces invaded Iraq to overthrow the Iraqi government led by Saddam Hussein, and the war that ensured ultimately led to Saddam’s defeat in the war and his consequent death. War and conflict also appears to haunt the country in the present times, as much of the country is in the grip of the Iraqi Civil War. In 2014, the Iraqi insurgency achieved the status of a Civil War when the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) conquered major areas in northern Iraq. The ISIS militants, not limiting their actions to only Iraq, have also terrorized much of the world with their acts of extreme violence. This has forced countries like the U.S., Iran, Syria, and other countries to aid the Iraqi Government to resist the growth and spread of ISIS militants. A shocking study reveals that around half a million Iraqis, including those killed directly or indirectly, lost their lives to warfare between 2003 and 2011. A 2007 estimate suggested that there were around 4 million Iraqi refugees around the world, and the number is definitely expected to rise in the future years as instability prevails.

1. Syrian Arab Republic

Currently, the gravity of the civil war situation in Syria is drawing attention from all across the globe. The war started with the spread of the wave of Arab Spring protests in Syria in the early spring of 2011. The revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests swept across Syria, demanding the eradication of President Bashar al-Assad’s government. The government’s forces meted out a violent response to these protests, which were heavily criticized by the European Union and the United Nations. The civilian protests soon transformed into an armed rebellion, and escalated into the Syrian Civil War of the present day. The war has displaced more than 11 million Syrians from their homelands, and claimed the lives of 250,000 people. The civil war has also damaged 290 heritage sites across the country, especially those destroyed by ISIS, and has engulfed many Syrian cities and towns in waves of crime. The porous borders of the country has allowed militants to use Syria as a pathway to access other states like Iraq, raising the possibility of a future regional war. Major powers across the globe are currently concentrating on solving the Syrian crisis, and many international organizations are working in unison to allow the war-torn Syrian population to survive the death-dealing situations in their country. At the heart of it all, one of the biggest challenges in Syria, as with Iraq, comes from the violent nature of ISIS and their territorial ambitions.

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