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Explosive violence in October 2019

In October 2019, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 2,632 deaths and injuries from 393 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 62% (1,631) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 90% of all casualties were civilians, compared to 16% in other areas.

In total, 45% of all civilian casualties from explosive violence last month were caused by ground-launched weapons, whilst 34% were caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and 19% by airstrikes – a further 3% of civilian casualties were caused by landmines, naval-launched explosive weapons, weapons with an unclear launch method and incidents with weapons utilising multiple launch methods.

At least one death or injury from explosive violence was recorded in 19 countries and territories last month. The five worst impacted countries were Syria, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan and Libya in terms of civilian casualties.

Syria was the country worst impacted by explosive weapons in October; with 764 civilian casualties from such violence last month. While 43% of recorded civilian casualties in Syria were caused by ground-launched explosives last month, 28% were caused by airstrikes and 24% by IEDs.

Syria saw a significant escalation in explosive violence harm in October, mostly due to the Turkish operation along Syria’s northern-western border. Shelling from Turkish, as well as some Kurdish, forces has resulted in a rise in civilian harm. In September, AOAV recorded 145 civilian casualties from explosive weapons in Syria. This means civilian casualties between September and October increased by over 420%.

At least 53% of civilian casualties from explosive violence in Syria last month were caused by Turkish airstrikes or shelling.

While Afghanistan remained the second-worst impacted country from explosive weapons, October saw a decrease in civilian casualties from explosive weapons. 800 civilian casualties were recorded in September, while in October, 372 were recorded. 81% of civilian casualties were caused by IEDs. 62% of civilian casualties caused by IEDs were due to suicide bombings.

Turkey saw 155 civilian casualties from the use of explosive weapons last month. All casualties were caused by cross-border ground-launched attacks. Similarly, in Pakistan, 62 of the 76 civilian casualties recorded last month were due to cross-border shelling, mostly from India. A further 14 civilian casualties were caused by IEDs.

In Libya, on the other hand, 49 of the 73 civilian casualties were caused by airstrikes and 24 were from shelling. Most incidents occurred in Tripoli.

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.