On Thursday, May 5th 2016, an airstrike hit a refugee camp in Idlib, southern Syria – a camp close to the Syrian-Turkish border.
The airstrike has killed at least 28, and is said to have injured over 80. It is not yet clear who is responsible. Most believe the airstrike was carried out by either the Syrian or Russian state, but the Russian Ministry of Defence claims it could have been carried out by Al-Nusra Front militants.
If the airstrike was indeed carried out by state actors, this attack would not be the first to target highly populated areas.
This attack comes just days after the air strike on the hospital in Aleppo that killed at least 50, including many hospital staff.
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. Of these at least 4 attacks were on hospitals.
In the first three months of 2016, AOAV’s Explosive Violence Monitor had already recorded 2,666 deaths and injuries. Of these 1,786 were civilians, with state actors responsible for at 33% of the civilian deaths and injuries in this period. 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 either January or February.
Over the last five years, AOAV’s Explosive Violence Monitor has found Syria to consistently be one of the states worst affected by explosive violence. A total of 36,224 deaths and injuries from explosive violence were recorded 2011-2015 – of these 86% (31,290) were civilians.
The only country worse affected from explosive violence in the last five years was Iraq.
From 2011-2015, 16,657 civilian deaths and injuries in Syria have been reported on English language media 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.
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.
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