Syria has been named as the most dangerous country in the world, amidst its civil war and the rise of Isis, according to a huge set of new figures showing global levels of peace and violence.
In 2008, Syria was classed as the world's 88th most peaceful country, out of 162 nations included in the table. In the last few years, during devastating civil war and the rapid rise of Isis in the country, it has fallen from almost the middle of the table to the very bottom.
Figures based on 23 different metrics, including factors like murder levels, perceptions of criminality, terrorism and military expenditure, have been collated to form a single figure, the Global Peace Index (GPI), part of the research unveiled by major think tank the Institute for Economics and Peace.
This is the ninth edition of the GPI tables, which are released annually. Past figures show Syria's steady fall down the rankings since 2008, with the largest decline in peacefulness coming in 2011, after the civil war began.
By contrast, the small Nordic nation of Iceland is the most peaceful country in the world.
It has a GPI score of 1.148, the lowest in the world, due to its low level of militarisation and domestic and international conflict, and its high level of security and societal stability. When it comes to GPI scores, a lower number means a country is more peaceful, and a higher one indicates it is more violent.
Iceland is one of the few countries in the world (and the only Nato member) with no standing army. Instead, its military consists of the Icelandic Coast Guard, a pseudo-military force which consists of a small number of ships and aircraft which guard the island's waters and airspace.
It spends 0.13 per cent of its annual GDP on its military, the second lowest figure in the world. By comparison, the UK spends 2.49 per cent, and the USA spends 4.35 per cent, according to the CIA World Factbook.
Iceland's very low levels of political instability, murder, weapons exports and problems with neighbouring countries also contribute to its first place ranking as the world's most peaceful countries.
Nordic countries, along with Alpine nations like Austria and Switzerland, are represented highly in the top 10 most peaceful countries - Denmark is just behind Iceland, in second place, and Finland is in sixth.
Sweden and Norway are in 13th and 17th place respectively, classed as less peaceful than their neighbours due to their slightly higher crime levels, and much higher levels of weapons exports - despite Sweden's neutrality and peaceful reputation, it is the world's 12th biggest exporter of weapons.
The UK comes in as the 39th most peaceful. Compared to other leading countries, perceptions of criminality and the threat of terrorism are higher in the UK. The fact it is a nuclear-armed state also hurts its ranking amongst peaceful countries.
In comparison, countries in the Middle East and Africa make up most of the bottom 10 on the list. Afghanistan has been towards the bottom of the rankings for some time, due to the chaos of the War on Terror.
Central African countries are similarly war-torn - both Sudan and South Sudan, which split following a referendum in 2011, make it into the bottom 10, as do the Central African Republic, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, all of which have experienced civil wars and unrest in recent years.
The secretive and totalitarian state of North Korea also makes it into the top 10 least peaceful countries, due to the high levels of political terror and militarisation that its citizens suffer from.
Isis fighters in Kobani (2014): Civilians flee as militants enter Syria-Turkey border
Isis fighters in Kobani (2014): Civilians flee as militants enter Syria-Turkey border
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Mourners gathered to bury three Kurdish fighters from Kobani
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An explosion rocks the Syrian city of Kobani during a reported suicide car bomb attack by Isis
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The US and Turkey have stepped up support for Kurdish fighters defending Kobani against Isis but it is still feared the town may fall; above, observers watch the fighting from a nearby village
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People are silhouetted on the top of a hill close to the border line between Turkey and Syria near Mursitpinar bordergate as they watch the U.S led airstrikes over ther Syrian town of Kobani
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Syrian Kurd Kiymet Ergun (56) gestures, in Mursitpinar on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, as thick smoke rises following an airstrike by the US-led coalition in Kobani, as fighting continued between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Isis group
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Kurdish Rabia Ali (R) accompanied by her son Ali Mehmud (L) mourn at the grave of her son Seydo Mehmud 'Curo', a Kurdish fighter, who was killed in the fighting with the militants of the Islamic State group in Kobani, and was buried at a cemetery in Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border
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Mourners gather for the funeral of two Syrian Kurdish fighters killed in fighting with militants of the Isis group in Kobani at a cemetery in Suruc
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Kurdish refugees fleeing Kobani enter Turkey at Suruc
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Smoke from air strikes against Isis in Kobani can be seen from across the border in Mursitpinar, Turkey
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Newly arrived Kurdish refugees after crossing into Turkey from the Syrian border town of Kobani
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Kurdish refugees cross the border near Kobani
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Smoke rises from the city centre of Kobani
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Isis militants stand next to an Isis flag atop a hill in the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobani by the Kurds, as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border, with Turkish troops in foreground, in the southeastern town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province
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A flag of Isis group is seen atop of a building at the eastern side of the town of Kobani, Syria, where fighting had been intensified between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Isis group
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Militants with the Isis group are seen after placing their group's flag on a hilltop at the eastern side of the town of Kobani
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Smoke rises after an apparent airstrike by allied forces against Isis targets in the west of Kobani where Kurdish fighters try to defend the town, near Suruc district, Sanliurfa, Turkey
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Newly arrived Syrian Kurdish refugees stand at the back of a truck after crossing into Turkey from the Syrian border town Kobani, near the southeastern Turkish town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province
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Turkish forces fire tear gas to disperse Kurds on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, as fighting intensified between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Isis in Kobani
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Kurdish men shout towards Turkish army soldiers, who try to evacuate people from the village of Mursitpinar, on the other side of the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobani by the Kurds, by the Turkish-Syrian border in Sanliurfa province
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Turkish Kurds walk as tanks in the background hold their positions on a hilltop in the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, overlooking Kobani in Syria where fighting had ben intensified between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Isis
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Turkish Gendarmerie use tear gas to disperse Kurdish protesters during a demonstration against the Isis, at the Syria-Turkey border near Sanliurfa
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Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province
These recent figures comprise the ninth edition of the GPI rankings. While the figures remained mostly stable in the previous edition, this year substantial changes have occurred in the Middle East and North Africa, where sectarian strife and civil wars have raged on.
Over the last eight editions of the index, the average country score has fallen by 2.4 per cent, indicating that the world has become less peaceful.
However, 76 countries on the list improved, mostly in Europe, North America, sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and the Caribbean.
Worldwide, the Institute found that the cost of violence, in the way it affects GDP through military spending and violent crime, can be estimated at $14.3 trillion (£9.2 trillion), or 13.4 per cent of the world's GDP.
Through studying the prevalence and impact of peace and violence around the world, the Institute hopes to bring about positive changes to help peace spread worldwide.Reuse content