Explosive violence in SyriaExplosive violence in Turkey

Over 100 civilians killed and injured in Turkish explosive violence in Syria

turkey syriaExplosive violence by Turkey on Sunday, August 29th 2016, saw 40 civilians dead and 75 injured in northern Syria, where Turkey and allied Syrian rebels are said to be targeting Kurdish-allied militias.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 20 civilians dead and 50 injured by Turkish airstrikes and artillery fire in Jeb el-Kussa, a Syrian village south of Jarabulus.

A further 20 were killed by Turkish air strikes near the town of al-Amarneh, which also saw 25 injured.

The attacks on both areas were also reported to have killed 4 Kurdish fighters and injured 15.

Though, Turkish media reported that 25 Kurdish terrorists were killed in Jarabulus and that care was taken to ensure civilians were not harmed.

Over the last week, Turkey has been increasing its presence in Syria, and this weekend saw Turkish forces launch their first ground offensive since the Syrian conflict began. They are targeting ISIS as well as US-backed Syrian-Kurdish rebels.

The Turkish presence in Syria was precipitated by a series of violent attacks perpetrated by ISIS and Kurdish militants in Turkey. PKK militants have launched IED attacks across the country, particularly targeting military and police.

Last Saturday, August 20th 2016, the vest of a child “suicide bomber” was detonated at a wedding in Gaziantep, a southeastern province of Turkey, leaving over 50 dead and at least 90 injured, in an attack suspected to have been perpetrated by ISIS.

Last week’s attack followed a string of deadly suicide attacks in Turkey, such as the attack at Ataturk airport and the car bomb attack in Istanbul in June.

Recent Kurdish violence has seen 90 killed and injured near a police headquarters in Sirnak after a truck bomb is detonated.

Many have expressed concern over the civilian impact of the Turkish involvement so far and the consequences of further escalation of violence in Syria.

Over the last five years, AOAV’s Explosive Violence Monitor has found Syria to be consistently one of the worst affected states from explosive violence around the world. A total of 36,224 deaths and injuries from explosive violence were recorded there between 2011-2015 – of these 86% (31,290) were civilians. Indeed, the only country worse affected from explosive violence in the last five years was Iraq.

Of these, 16,657 civilian deaths and injuries in Syria were from explosive violence perpetrated by state actors, predominantly Syria and Russia. Of these state perpetrated attacks 466 were air-launched, which alone were responsible for 10,065 civilian deaths and injuries.

In 2015, AOAV’s Explosive Violence Monitor found that airstrikes carried out by state actors in Syria killed and injured at least 4,021 civilians in populated areas alone.

In the first half of 2016, AOAV had already recorded 1,755 civilian deaths and injuries from 78 air-launched attacks. The violence in Syria was greatly reduced throughout Syria in March after the ceasefire; the total deaths and injuries in March were at least 50% less than those recorded in any other month in 2016.

AOAV records casualties (i.e. people killed and injured) from explosive violence around the world as reported in English-language news sources. The data reflected here cannot capture the full scale of civilian suffering in Syria, but is indicative of the patterns of harm that exist when explosive weapons are used in populated areas.

AOAV strongly condemns the use of violence against civilians and calls upon all groups to reject the deliberate targeting of civilians. The use of weapons with wide-area impacts should also remain of concern; due to the severe impact these have on civilians. All actors must urgently address the civilian harm in Syria. The situation in Syria requires an urgent response to prevent further suffering of Syrian civilians, who have for too long borne the impact of the violence in their country.