Damascus, Tripoli and Algiers are among the four least liveable cities in the world, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index 2022.
Syrian capital Damascus ranked rock bottom in the ranking of 173 cities worldwide, immediately preceded by Nigerian capital Lagos. Damascus has consistently scored the lowest place on the list since 2013.
Libyan capital Tripoli came third from the bottom, with Algerian capital Algiers ranking as the fourth-worst city.
The index rates living conditions in cities based on stability, health care, culture, environment, education and infrastructure.
“Wars, conflicts and terrorism are the biggest factors weighing down the ten lowest-ranked cities,” The Economist Intelligence Unit reported.
“Encouragingly, however, all of the bottom ten, apart from Tripoli, have seen their score improve in the past year as Covid restrictions have eased.”
Syria continues to reel from an ongoing conflict, which began in 2011 with the brutal repression of pro-democracy protests by the Assad regime.
The conflict has claimed the lives of over 500,000 people and left much of the country in ruins and in deep economic crisis.
Though Damascus has escaped the worst of the violence, many residents struggle to make ends meet in part due to crippling sanctions on the country.
Libya has also experienced years of instability and insecurity, since the 2011 uprising that ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Though Algeria has in recent decades escaped the violent conflicts seen by Libya and Syria, it has endured deep political turmoil and economic stagnation due to the collapse of oil prices and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some Twitter users reacted with surprise at just how low Algiers ranked, considering its relative safety.
Seems a bit harsh on Algiers to put it on par with two cities in what are basically still warzones
— Alex MacDonald (@AlexJayMac) June 23, 2022
The highest-scoring cities in the Middle East and North Africa were the Emirati cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Western European cities dominated the rankings of best cities to live, with Vienna taking first place, followed by Copenhagen and Zurich.