Syrian men react following a reported bomb attack in Aleppo, Syria. (Thaer Mohammed/AFP via Getty Images)

Life expectancy in a number of countries gripped by political instability in the wake of the 2011 "Arab Spring" has slumped, according to a new report. In Syria, which has been torn apart by a hideous civil war, the average life expectancy for men dropped from 75 to 69 between 2010 and 2013. For Syrian women, that figure went from 80 to 75 in the same period.

The pro-democracy uprisings that flared across the region in 2011 led to years of political upheaval. Nowhere has the violence been as calamitous as in Syria, where after half a decade of ruinous conflict, perhaps as many as half a million people died, while millions more were forced from their homes.

But the research, put out by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which is affiliated with the University of Washington, found that countries such as Yemen, Tunisia and Egypt — all sites of regime change or collapse -- also lost around three months in life expectancy.

"Recent conflicts have shattered the basic infrastructure in a number of countries," the report's lead author Ali Mokdad, a professor at the University of Washington, told reporters. "As a result, millions of people are facing dire water shortages and poor sanitation that will lead to disease outbreaks."

This is particularly tragic given the considerable improvements much of the region made in the past few decades. According to the institute's analysis, overall life expectancy in 22 nations in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia increased from 65 years in 1990 to 71 years in 2013.

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