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Explosive violence in September 2017

Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 3,328 deaths and injuries from explosive violence around the world in September 2017, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 68% (2,256) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

At least one death or injury from explosive violence was recorded in 20 countries last month. The five worst impacted countries were Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, according to civilian casualties.

In Syria, 86% of civilian casualties from explosive violence were caused by airstrikes. This means that, once again, state actors were responsible for the majority civilian casualties from explosive violence in Syria last month. The US-led coalition alone, was responsible for at least a quarter of the civilian casualties from airstrikes in Syria.

In comparison, in Iraq, 85% of civilian casualties were caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Though, despite Iraq retaining its usual place amongst the worst impacted countries, the country continued to see surprisingly low levels of civilian harm. AOAV recorded 287 civilian casualties in September.

Whilst this figure is high, this is a significant decrease from the levels recorded in the latter months of last year, where well over 1,000 civilian casualties were recorded each month. On average last year, Iraq recorded 530 civilian casualties from explosive violence per month. It is likely that due to the conflict situation in Iraq reporters cannot reach the mot impacted areas.

In Afghanistan, 69% of the civilian casualties were caused by IEDs – with 46% caused by suicide attacks alone.

Unlike the majority of countries in the five worst impacted, Pakistan saw most civilian casualties, 58%, from ground-launched explosives. With 55% caused by Indian shelling in Kashmir.

AOAV recorded 8 airstrikes in Yemen, which caused at least 60 civilian casualties – in most cases the news reports failed to mention the number of civilians injured. Therefore, it is likely that the total casualties from explosive violence in Yemen is far higher. 26 civilian casualties were also recorded from Houthi shelling.

In total, 56% of all casualties from explosive violence last month were caused by airstrikes, whilst 27% were caused by IEDs and 17% were caused by ground-launched explosives.

When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 93% of all casualties were civilians, compared to 9% in other areas.

AOAV condemns the use of violence against civilians and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. All actors should stop using explosive weapons with wide-area affects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.

For more on the increasing harm from airstrikes, please see here.


AOAV is working to reduce armed violence - please help us by sharing our work: