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Syria

US coalition airstrikes killed and injured 50 civilians in Syria

raqqa-1The air strikes carried out on Tuesday, November 8th 2016, were targeting the IS-held village of al-Heisha, near Raqqa. They resulted in the death of at least 20 civilians and injured 30.

Of those killed at least six were women and one was a child.

The local activist group Raqqa is being Silently Slaughtered put the death toll at 23.

The US-led coalition confirmed it had carried out strikes in the area and would carry out further investigations. Other strikes near the area destroyed IS positions.

States should ensure transparency when carrying out such investigations and implement further measures to avoid such civilian harm.

Such airstrikes exemplify the danger of using such weapons in populated areas, where civilians are almost always the main casualties.

AOAV has consistently found that when explosive weapons are used in populated areas over 90% of the deaths and injuries will be those of civilians.

Syria has consistently been 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.

So far this year, Syria has consistently suffered the most civilian deaths and injuries each month, apart from a brief respite in March, despite ceasefire violations. More civilians have been killed and injured in the explosive violence so this year than in the entirety of 2015. The situation appears to only be getting worse.

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.