The vest of a child “suicide bomber” was detonated last Saturday, August 20th 2016, at a wedding in Gaziantep, a southeastern province of Turkey. The attack left over 50 dead and at least 90 injured.
Turkish authorities suspect ISIS were behind the attack that used a child, thought to be aged between 12 and 14, to carry out the lethal bombing. It is not clear if the child detonated the explosives or if they were detonated remotely.
Since the bombing at the wedding, Turkey has carried out numerous shelling attacks into Syria, said to be targeting ISIS militants in Jarablus, Aleppo. Though there have seen reports that the shelling has also killed many civilians.
Recorded levels of explosive violence in Turkey have experienced a precipitous rise over the last year and a half thanks to both an escalation of ISIS activities on Turkish soil and a rapid escalation in the conflict between various Kurdish nationalist groups and the Turkish state. In 2015, AOAV’s EVMP (Explosive Violence Monitoring Project) recorded more than seven times as many incidents of explosive weapon use in Turkey than in 2014.
A particularly bloody part of this escalation has been the use of suicide bombings – AOAV has recorded 971 civilian deaths and injuries as a result of 10 suicide bombings in Turkey since the beginning of 2015, including a horrific 602 from the October 2015 bombing of a peace rally in Ankara.
AOAV calls on all participants in all conflicts to end the use of explosive weapons against civilians and in areas likely to contain high concentrations of civilian life. We also call on the Turkish state and other governments in the region to work together to put in place measures for the control of precursor materials to degrade organisations’ ability to manufacture suicide vests and IEDs of the kind used in this attack. Mass-casualty attacks on civilians must stop.
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