Since Friday, June 3rd 2016, explosive violence in multiple attacks by both regime and rebel forces have killed and injured over 100 across Aleppo, and the surrounding areas.
On Friday, it was reported that at least 31 civilians were killed in airstrikes by the Syrian government. The strikes hit a bus killing ten, and a further 21 were killed in strikes in the eastern part of the city.
Many reported the use of barrel bombs – oil drums packed with explosives and shrapnel. These weapons are highly inexact and pose significant danger to civilians.
On Saturday, June 5th, the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria stated that 270 civilians were killed and hundreds more were injured by militant bombing across Syria, with 40 reported to have been killed and a hundred injured in the militant shelling on Aleppo.
Both rebel and regime use of explosive violence continued on Sunday, June 6th, including more barrel bombs and mortar attacks. Regime airstrikes killed at least 32 in Aleppo, whilst rebel missiles targeted west Aleppo, killing at least 20.
Many reports suggested a high number of civilians being injured from the explosive violence across Aleppo and other areas of Syria, though the exact toll is not clear.
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.
Explosive violence by rebel forces in Syria last year was responsible for at least 2,178 reported civilian deaths and injuries, with 86% of these from explosive violence in populated areas. This number almost certainly under-estimates the true figures, owing to poor English language reporting in Syria.
In the first four months of 2016, AOAV’s Explosive Violence Monitor has already recorded 3,955 deaths and injuries in Syria. Of these 2,949 have been civilians, with state actors responsible for at least 36% of the civilian deaths and injuries in this period.
The violence in Syria was greatly reduced through March after the ceasefire; the total deaths and injuries in that month 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 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.
From 2011 to 2015, 16,657 civilian deaths and injuries in Syria have been reported in English language media from explosive violence perpetrated by state actors, predominantly Syria and Russia. Of these state perpetrated attacks, 466 were air-launched – attacks which alone were responsible for some 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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