The violence and chaos inside Syria, where Islamic State terrorists and other rebel groups control large portions of the country, is so dire that millions of people have fled and the U.N. has stopped trying to keep count of the dead. Yet Syria is just one of many places across the globe where warlords, separatists, drug cartels, or terror groups have seized territory within a sovereign nation, leaving the government with little or no power—and the people to fend for themselves.
METHODOLOGY: Bloomberg analyzed select conflicts from around the world that have resulted in areas beyond the control of state authorities. The universe of conflicts was drawn primarily from the Armed Conflict Database of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, an independent London-based think tank specializing in international affairs.
We excluded conflicts that are solely border disputes, as well as those in which countries have internationally recognized claims to land that is currently occupied by another nation's forces. Also eliminated were countries that suffer terrorist or separatist attacks in restive areas, but whose governments nonetheless retain a general sense of control over such regions. Additionally excluded were conflicts that appear to have stabilized in recent years.
Ultimately, we included countries that we determined have at least one region that is essentially beyond the control of government authorities.
Refugee figures are as of end of 2014; "Killed since" figures are through April 2015.
Update, Oct. 13: Corrects the number of fatalities in Iraq since 2003 and Syria since 2011. Text revised to note terrorist attacks in Libya; specify that direct Russian backing of rebels is according to the Ukrainian military; and note the alliance of Houthi rebels in Yemen with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the presence of al-Qaeda in the eastern part of the country.