Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) records incidents of explosive violence as they occur around the world. Since 1 October 2010 AOAV has used English-language media sources to capture information on attacks, including on the number of casualties and the weapon type used.
In August 2015, AOAV recorded casualties of explosive violence worldwide, 82% of whom were civilians (3,236 civilian deaths and injuries).
Syria was the most-affected country, and the top story this month focuses on the use of possible fuel-air explosives in a devastating attack on a marketplace in Douma in which almost 100 civilians were killed.
Read the report: Explosive Violence in August 2015
Top Story: Devastating market bombing in Syria
The single worst incident of explosive violence recorded by AOAV in August 2015 was the bombing of a market in the outskirts of Damascus, Syria. At least 96 people were killed and another 200 were wounded in the air strike on 16 August, carried out by Syrian fighter jets.
The strikes took place during rush hour as civilians were shopping for food on the first working day of the week. At least two bombs fell in the marketplace, the second falling as rescuers rushed to help the victims of the first blast. Eyewitnesses said that the public space had been completely obliterated, and that the destruction of supplies meant that survivors in the area would now go without food.
The particularly severe nature of the destruction arising from potentially just two munitions suggests that fuel-air explosives may have been used. Commonly called ‘vacuum’ bombs because of the enormously destructive shockwave these weapons have.
Aid In Danger: Nine hospitals bombed in three days
By Insecurity Insight: www.aidindanger.org
Between 7 and 10 August 2015, air strikes affected nine hospitals across Idlib province, in North West Syria. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), who run five different medical facilities in Syria and support over 100 others, believe that the attacks are “part of an ongoing and devastating trend towards more targeted attacks on healthcare services across the country.”
The strikes killed three hospital staff, one patient and seven civilians, and injured seven hospital staff, six patients and over 18 civilians. The impact of the explosive force destroyed two ambulances, a generator and a laboratory and damaged three more ambulances.
The long-term consequences of damage caused by explosive weapons will be felt by a wider circle of civilians as the dialysis centre serving a catchment population of 30,000 remains closed and the surgery, orthopaedics and physiotherapy services were affected in several of the hospitals.
(1) Actors are defined as civilians if they are not identifiable in reports either as armed actors or security personnel.
(2) Refers to areas likely to contain concentrations of civilians. To see AOAV’s recording guidelines see https://aoav.org.uk/explosiveiviolence/methodology/
 For more on the bombing of Douma market in Syria, see:
“UN condemns Syria market attack as witnesses tell of ‘corpses everywhere,” The Guardian, 17 August 2015, www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/17/un-condemns-syria-market-attack-douma-air-strike
“Syrian army bombards Douma as air raid toll rises: monitor,” Reuters, 17 August 2015, www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/17/us-mideast-crisis-syria-attack-idUSKCN0QM0RZ20150817
“A new kind of bomb is being used in Syria and it’s a humanitarian nightmare,” 28 August 2015, https://news.vice.com/article/a-new-kind-of-bomb-is-being-used-in-syria-and-its-a-humanitarian-nightmare
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