Explosive violence in Syria

Research by Handicap International finds that of those injured in Syria 55% were the result of explosive weapons

The rhandicap internationalesearch conducted by Handicap International focuses on the injuries and psychological trauma observed whilst they carried out their work in Syria and neighbouring countries with those who have been internally displaced and with Syrian refugees.

Their study draws attention to both the short and long term consequences that victims of explosive weapons face, in a context of limited immediate and sustainable care.

Key findings

Based upon the 25,000 persons with injuries assessed by Handicap International teams they found that:

  • 67% sustained injuries directly related to the crisis;
  • Among the injuries sustained as a result of the crisis, 53% are due to the use of explosive weapons.
  • Explosive weapons were the leading cause of conflict related injuries.
  • Of injuries caused by explosive weapons 86% were caused by bombing or shelling.
  • 89% of people with injuries due to the use of explosive weapons have permanent or temporary physical impairments.
  • 80% of people injured by explosive weapons expressed signs of high psychological distress.
  • 66% of them were unable to carry out essential daily activities because of their feelings of fear, anger, fatigue, disinterest and hopelessness.


The study goes to show the desperate need for victims of explosive violence to gain immediate access to adequate health services in order to deal with their injuries, and avoid complications or death.

Importantly, the study identifies a number of practical recommendations targeted at humanitarian actors as a whole, including international and local NGOs, UN agencies, governments, as well as donors supporting emergency response, in order to address the harm caused by the use of explosive weapons.

The report calls on all stakeholders to commit to stop using explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas in order to avoid further civilian casualties, and to condemn any use of such weapons in populated areas.

AOAV reiterates Handicap International’s call and too hopes that this factsheet will contribute to raise awareness on the challenges faced by Syrian refugees. We hope that these recommendations will be taken into account in the process toward a political commitment to end the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, and lead to the adoption of concrete measures.

To see Handicap International’s full factsheet see here.