On 25th July 2017, regime airstrikes targeted the Syrian town of Arbin in Eastern Ghouta, killing ten civilians and wounding several others.
In the airstrike, the regime was believed to have used eight wide-area impact thermobaric “vacuum” rockets, which left seven children amongst the dead and over 50 injured.
The attack comes just four days after the Syrian regime agreed to a Russian-backed truce, which implemented a cessation of hostilities in the countryside of Damascus – including Eastern Ghouta.
Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) records the harm caused by explosive violence across the globe according to English-language media sources. Syria has consistently been a hot spot for explosive violence as highlighted by the explosive violence monitor.
Between 2011-2016 Syria saw at least 51,875 reported deaths and injuries from explosive violence. Of these, 86% (44,614) were civilians. Last year, AOAV recorded 13,313 civilian deaths and injuries from explosive violence. 48% were caused by air-launched weapons.
Compared to 2015, AOAV recorded a 45% increase in civilian deaths and injuries from air-launched explosive violence in Syria last year.
In the first half of 2017, civilian deaths from air-launched explosive violence have risen by 44% compared to the same period in 2016.
The worst impacted countries were Syria, Iraq and Yemen – with 90% of all civilian casualties from air strikes occurring in these three countries alone.
Syria has seen a 42% increase in civilian casualties from airstrikes in this period.
AOAV calls upon states to recognise the civilian impact of explosive weapons with wide-area impacts, which all too often result in the death and injury of scores of civilians. The International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW), of which Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) is a member, released a briefing paper last year, ‘A Declaration to Prevent Harm From the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas‘, which sets out the key elements that should be included in a political instrument to address the humanitarian problem posed by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
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