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Explosive violence in July 2019

In July 2019, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 4,016 deaths and injuries from 423 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 75% (3,004) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 93% of all casualties were civilians, compared to 13% in other areas.

In total, 49% of all civilian casualties from explosive violence last month were caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), whilst 10% were caused by ground-launched explosives and 38% by airstrikes – a further 3% of civilian casualties were caused by incidents using multiple types of explosive weaponry or landmines.

At least one death or injury from explosive violence was recorded in 25 countries and territories last month. The five worst impacted countries were Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia and Pakistan in terms of civilian casualties.

Syria was the country worst impacted by explosive weapons in July; with 1,213 civilian casualties from such violence last month. This is a continuation in the upward trend in explosive violence harm AOAV has recorded in Syria over the last few months. 71% of civilian casualties last month were due to state use of explosive weapons.

In total, 66% of civilian casualties from explosive weapons in Syria were caused by airstrikes; 15% were from IEDs, and 11% from ground-launched weapons. A further 7% were caused by incidents using multiple types of explosive weaponry or landmines. While most airstrikes were conducted by Syria and Russia, civilian casualties were also recorded from US-led coalition airstrikes.

On July 22nd 2019, Russian bombardment struck a market and residential neighbourhoods in Maarrat al-Nu’man city in Syria’s Idlib. Over 130 were killed or injured in the bombardment. Throughout July, AOAV documented the surge in civilian casualties in Syria’s ‘buffer zone’.

In Afghanistan, AOAV recorded the highest number of monthly civilian casualties from explosive violence recorded in the country in over eight years of monitoring casualties. Civilians accounted for 66% (1,013) of the total casualties from explosive violence (1,540). Of the civilians killed and injured, 89% (901) were from improvised explosive devices (IEDs); 5% were from airstrikes and 6% were from ground-launched explosive weapons. Suicide attacks alone were responsible over half of all civilian casualties (53%). For more analysis of the violence in Afghanistan last month, please see here.

In Libya, 67% of the civilian casualties were caused by just one incident, when, on July 2nd 2019, airstrikes hit the government-run Tajoura Detention Centre just outside the Libyan capital of Tripoli. The attack left over 170 killed or injured. At least 77% of all civilian casualties from explosive violence in Libya were caused by the Libyan National Army under the command of Khalifa Haftar.

In Somalia, AOAV recorded 161 civilian casualties from explosive violence. Attacks using IEDs were responsible for all civilian casualties recorded. In Pakistan, IEDs caused 78% (99) of all civilian casualties from explosive violence in the country (127). A further 25 civilian casualties were caused by Indian cross-border shelling.

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.