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Explosive Violence in February 2024

In February 2024, Action on Armed Violence recorded 4,600 deaths and injuries from 703 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 82% (3,762) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 91% (3,688) of the casualties were civilians, compared to 14% (74) in other areas.

Manufactured explosive weapons accounted for 94% (3,520) of civilian casualties, while improvised explosive weapons (IEDs) accounted for 6% (242) of these civilian casualties in February 2024. Of the main launch-method types of manufactured explosive weapons, air-launched explosive weapons accounted for 62% (2,340) of civilian casualties, ground-launched weapons were responsible for 22% (836) of civilian casualties, and landmines were responsible for 1% (48) of civilian casualties.

At least one death or injury from the use of explosive weapons was recorded in 31 countries and territories in February 2024. The five most affected countries and territories in terms of civilian casualties from the use of explosive weapons were Gaza (2,173 civilian casualties), Ukraine (613), Myanmar (268), Syria (131) and Pakistan (120).

GAZA

In February 2024, there were 218 incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in Gaza, 191 of which resulted in 2,173 civilian casualties, of whom 1,395 were killed and 778 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 58 children, 22 women, and 27 men. Overall, civilians accounted for 95% of all 2,296 casualties recorded in Gaza in February, as there were also 123 reported armed-actor casualties, of whom 111 were killed and 12 injured. Due to the consistent and frequent attacks in populated areas using explosive weapons, incident-specific reporting of casualties in Gaza is a slow and laborious process, with many reports coming in weeks after the incident. This, added to the difficulty in disaggregating and tracking rising casualty tolls and attributing deaths and injuries to specific strikes, means that AOAV’s February data for Gaza is, as it stands, likely to be a significant undercounting.

All of the civilian casualties, 100% (2,173), occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 84% (1,823) occurred in urban residential areas, 5% (115) in humanitarian infrastructure, 4% (89) across multiple urban areas, 3% (55) in hospitals, 2% (33) in encampments, 1% (30) in schools, and less than 1% across roads (12), commercial premises (7), public gatherings (5), agricultural land (2) and places of worship (2) respectively.

The regions in which civilian casualties were reported in Gaza in February are South Gaza (941 civilian casualties), Central Gaza (716), North Gaza (491) and Central and South Gaza (25).

All recorded civilian casualties were caused by state actors’ use of explosive weapons, specifically Israel.

The use of air-launched weapons caused 81% (1,763) of civilian casualties, specifically air strikes (1,482 civilian casualties), and air-launched missiles (281). Ground-launched explosive weapons caused 10% (220) of civilian casualties, specifically non-specific shelling (91 civilian casualties), combined ground-launched weapons (70), artillery shells (45), tank shells (11), and ground-launched missiles (3). The use of combined explosive weapons caused 9% (188) of civilian casualties, while naval-launched weapons, specifically missiles, caused less than 1% (2)..

The number of civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Gaza in February 2024 remained relatively consistent compared to levels recorded in January 2024, when 255 incidents resulted in 2,540 civilian casualties (1,795 killed, 745 injured). In December 2023, AOAV recorded 279 incidents and 4,012 civilian casualties, of whom 3,237 were killed and 759 injured. 

UKRAINE

In February 2024, there were 218 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Ukraine, 206 of which caused 613 civilian casualties, 163 of whom were killed and 450 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 24 children, 125 women and 167 men. Overall, civilians accounted for 77% of all 797 casualties in Ukraine in February, as 184 armed actor casualties were also recorded, 152 of whom were killed and 32 injured.

98% (600) of civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 40% (246) occurred in urban residential areas, 23% (142) in villages, 15% (95) in commercial premises, 7% (45) across multiple urban areas , 6% (38)in places of entertainment venues , 2% (15) in hospitals , and less than 1% across agricultural land (4), hotels (4), transport related infrastructure (3), roads (2), town centres (2), markets (2), humanitarian infrastructure (1), and public transport (1).

The oblasts in which civilian casualties were reported in Ukraine in February are Donetsk (147 civilian casualties), Kharkiv (144), Kherson (105), Kyiv (44), Luhansk (42), Sumy (37), Dnipropetrovsk (34), Zaporizhzhia (25), Mykolaiv (16), Odessa (12), Lviv (3), Khmelnytskyi (2), and Chernihiv (2). 

The majority of civilian casualties, 99% (606), were attributed to state actors’ use of explosive weapons, specifically Russia (540 civilian casualties), Ukraine (63), and unknown state actors (3). Actors of unknown name and status caused 1% (7) of civilian casualties.

The use of ground-launched weapons caused 50% (307) of civilian casualties, specifically non-specific shelling (164 civilian casualties), ground-launched rockets (67), artillery shelling (38), ground-launched missiles (23), mortars (12), grenades (2) and combined ground-launched weapons (1). 

Air-launched weapons caused 32% (196) of civilian casualties, specifically air strikes (189 civilian casualties), air-dropped bombs (5) and air-launched missiles (2). 

Weapons of unclear launch method caused 14% (83) of civilian casualties, specifically missiles (82 civilian casualties) and rockets (1). The use of combined explosive weapons caused 3% (16) of civilian casualties. Mines were the cause of 2% (11) of civilian casualties, specifically landmines (6 civilian casualties) and anti-personnel mines (5).

The number of civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Ukraine in February 2024 remained relatively consistent compared to levels recorded in January 2024, when 197 incidents caused 729 civilian casualties, 151 of whom were killed and 578 injured. In December 2023, 184 incidents were recorded, which caused 732 civilian casualties (138 killed, 594 injured).

MYANMAR

In February 2024, there were 38 incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in Myanmar, 27 of which resulted in 268 civilian casualties, 80 of whom were killed and 188 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 28 children, 10 women, and 22 men. Overall, civilians accounted for 82% of all 326 casualties recorded in Myanmar in February, as 58 armed actor casualties were also recorded, 19 of whom were killed and 39 injured. 

99% (264) of civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 26% (69) occurred in villages, 25% (68) in urban residential areas, 19% (52) in markets , 9% (25) across multiple urban areas , 5% (14) in schools, 4% (11) in places of entertainment and less than 3% (7) on roads.

The states in which civilian casualties were recorded in Myanmar in February are Rakhine (117 civilian casualties), Sagaing (84), Shan (26), Bago (23), Kayah (14), Mon (2) and Chin (2). 

State actors, specifically the Myanmar military, caused 85% (227), of civilian casualties. Whilst both state and non-state actors combined, specifically the Myanmar military and the People’s Defence Forces (PDF) caused 15% (40) of civilian casualties. Actors of unknown name and status caused less than 1% (1) of civilian casualties.

Ground-launched weapons caused 57% (153) of civilian casualties, specifically artillery shelling (119 civilian casualties), non-specific shelling (26) and mortar shelling (8). The use of air-launched weapons, specifically air strikes, caused 41% (111) of civilian casualties. Mines, specifically landmines, caused 1% (4) of civilian casualties. 

Civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Myanmar in February 2024 decreased compared to January 2024, when 74 incidents caused 326 reported civilian casualties, 122 of whom were killed and 204 injured. In December 2023, 65 incidents were recorded, which resulted in 201 civilian casualties (63 killed, 138 injured).

SYRIA

In February 2024, there were 86 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Syria, 41 of which resulted in 131 civilian casualties, 53 of whom were killed and 78 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 11 children, 14 women, and 26 men. Overall, civilians accounted for 44% of all 299 casualties recorded in Syria in February, as 168 armed actors casualties were also recorded, 101 of whom were killed and 67 injured. 

76% (99) of civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 34% (44) occurred in urban residential areas, 24% (31) in villages, 6% across multiple urban areas (8), 5% in agricultural land (6) and commercial premises (6) respectively, 2% (3) markets , and less than 1% (1) in hospitals.

The provinces in which civilian casualties were reported in Syria in February are Raqqa (23 civilian casualties), Idlib (21), Deir Ezzor (19), Aleppo (18), Hama (11), Homs (11), Hasakah (9), Rif Dimashq (7), Damascus (6), and Daraa (6).

48% (63) of civilian casualties were caused by non-state actors’ use of explosive weapons, specifically Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (30 civilian casualties), unknown non-state actors (28), the Syrian Democratic Forces (4), and the Islamic Resistance movement (1). State actors caused 46% (60) of civilian casualties, specifically Syria (19 civilian casualties), Israel (16) Turkey (14), Russia (10) and the United States (1). Actors of unknown name and status caused 6% (8) of civilian casualties.

Air-launched weapons caused 35% (46) of civilian casualties, specifically air strikes (40 civilian casualties) and air-launched missiles (6). The use of ground-launched weapons caused 29% (38) of civilian casualties, specifically mortars (16 civilian casualties), grenades (10), artillery shelling (9), and ground-launched missiles (3). 

IEDs caused 29% (38) of civilian casualties, specifically non-specific IEDs (33 civilian casualties), car bombs (4), and air-dropped bombs (1). Weapons of unclear launch method, specifically missiles caused 5% (7) of civilian casualties. Mines, specifically landmines, caused 2% (2) of civilian casualties.

Civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Syria in February 2024 remained relatively consistent compared to levels recorded in January 2024, when 78 incidents caused 130 civilian casualties, 44 of whom were killed and 86 injured. In December 2023, 98 incidents were recorded, which caused 248 civilian casualties (64 killed, 184 injured).

PAKISTAN

In February 2024, there were 30 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Pakistan, 20 of which caused 120 civilian casualties, 39 of whom were killed and 81 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 16 children, two women, and two men. Overall, civilians accounted for 72% of all 166 casualties recorded in Pakistan in February, as 46 armed actor casualties were also recorded, 22 of whom were killed and 24 injured. 

96% of civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 63% (76) occurred in public buildings, 10% (12) in urban residential areas, 8% (10) in markets, 4% in schools (5) and commercial premises (5) respectively, 3% occurred at a police station (3) and 1% at a public gathering (2) and roads (2) respectively. 

The states in which civilian casualties were reported in Pakistan in February are Balochistan (96 civilian casualties), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (19), and Sindh (5).

98% (117) of civilian casualties were caused by non-state actors’ use of explosive weapons, specifically non-state actors of unknown name caused 66% (79) of civilian casualties, while the Islamic State affiliate in Pakistan caused 32% (38) of civilian casualties. Actors of unknown name and status caused 3% (3) of civilian casualties.

The use of IEDs caused 73% (87) of civilian casualties, specifically car bombs (70 civilian casualties), non-specific IEDs (15) and roadside bombs (2). Ground-launched weapons accounted for 25% (30) of civilian casualties, specifically grenades (25 civilian casualties) and ground-launched rockets (5). Mines, specifically landmines, caused 3% (3) of civilian casualties.

Civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Pakistan in February 2024 increased compared to January 2024, when 20 incidents caused 44 reported civilian casualties (6 killed, 38 injured). In December 2023, 17 incidents of explosive weapon use were recorded, which resulted in 30 reported civilian casualties (6 killed, 24 injured).



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 effects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.