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Explosive violence in February 2020

In February 2020, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 1,656 deaths and injuries from 307 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 64% (1,058) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 93% of all casualties were civilians, compared to 15% in other areas.

Manufactured weapons accounted for 84% of civilian casualties in February 2020, while improvised explosive devices (IEDs) accounted for 16%. Of the main launch method types, airstrikes were responsible for 49% of civilian casualties, ground-launched explosives for 33%, and IEDs for 16%. The remaining 2% of civilian casualties were caused by landmines and attacks where the launch method was unclear.

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

Syria was the country worst impacted by explosive weapons in February, with 608 civilian casualties from such violence. 87% of these casualties were due to explosive weapon use by state actors. Airstrikes accounted for 71% of civilian casualties, ground-launched explosives accounted for 20%, and IEDs for 6%. A further 2% were caused by landmines and explosive weapons with unclear launch methods.

Aleppo and Idlib were the worst impacted areas in Syria last month. 92% of civilian casualties from the use of explosive weapons in Syria, occurred in the provinces of Idlib (with 271 civilian casualties) or Aleppo (with 290 civilian casualties).

Libya was the second-worst impacted country from explosive weapons, with 82 civilian casualties. As the ground and skies become increasingly crowded with various actors, casualties are likely to rise. Last month, casualties from Turkish airstrikes in Libya were also recorded.

Afghanistan also saw at least 82 civilian casualties from explosive violence last month; monthly casualties continued to decrease. Airstrikes caused at least 23 civilian casualties in Afghanistan last month, while a further 19 were caused by ground-launched explosives and 40 by IEDs.

Pakistan saw 58 civilian casualties; 34 from ground-launched explosives and 24 caused by IEDs. While Yemen saw most of their 56 civilian casualties caused by airstrikes (43).

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.