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Turmoil negatively affects birth rate in Syria, report says

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Syrian refugee woman holds her twin infants at a maternity clinic in Jordan, July 29, 2015. (AP photo)

The annual birth rate in Syria has fallen by more than half since the Arab country plunged into turmoil in March 2011, a report says.

Syrian medical sources told al-Watan newspaper on Tuesday that prior to the unrest the country had recorded about 500,000 births per year.

However, the government figures show that the number has dropped to only 200,000 this year.

Meanwhile, Salah al-Sheikha, the dean of Damascus University's Faculty of Medicine, said several factors contributed to the declining birth rate in recent years.

Sheikha attributed the drop to “the reluctance of young people to get married, in addition to emigration... which has had the biggest effect on the number of births dropping to this low level.”

The medical expert also said the "steady drop" in the number of births was a result of "emigration outside of Syria, especially for young men who are old enough to get married."

Four million Syrians have left the country since the beginning of the crisis.

According to Syria's passport control office, a record 5,000 people per day have applied for new passports in 2015, compared to the figure of 1,000 per day in 2014.

The report added that the impact of unrest on the purchasing power of Syrians may also have discouraged parents from having more children.

Syrian refugee women and children sit under a tent as they attend a class on family planning organized by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) at a makeshift camp in Lebanon, November 10, 2015. (AFP photo)

More than 250,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced by the foreign-backed crisis in Syria over the past few years.

The United States and its regional allies, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia and some other monarchies of the Persian Gulf region, have been backing militants fighting against the Syrian government and people.

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