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Explosive Violence in March 2024

In March 2024, Action on Armed Violence recorded 4,156 deaths and injuries from 693 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 86% (3,572) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 93% (3,385) of the casualties were civilians, compared to 36% (187) in other areas.

Manufactured explosive weapons accounted for 93% (3,339) of civilian casualties, while improvised explosive weapons (IEDs) accounted for 7% (233) of these civilian casualties in March 2024. Of the main launch-method types of manufactured explosive weapons, air-launched explosive weapons accounted for 46% (1,639) of civilian casualties, ground-launched weapons were responsible for 31% (1,113) of civilian casualties, and landmines were responsible for 1% (53) of civilian casualties.

At least one death or injury from the use of explosive weapons was recorded in 26 countries and territories in March 2024. The five most affected countries and territories in terms of civilian casualties from the use of explosive weapons were Gaza (1,747 civilian casualties), Ukraine (853), Myanmar (247), Syria (173) and Sudan (120).

GAZA

In March 2024, there were 198 incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in Gaza, 183 of which resulted in 1,747 civilian casualties, of whom 1,164 were killed and 583 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 58 children, 19 women, and 10 men. Overall, civilians accounted for 95% of all 1,840 casualties recorded in Gaza in March, as there were also 93 reported armed-actor casualties, of whom 64 were killed and 29 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 March data for Gaza is, as it stands, likely to be a significant undercounting.

99.9% (1,745) of civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 65% (1,135) occurred in urban residential areas, 21% (366) in encampments, 6% (112) in humanitarian infrastructure, 4% (65) across multiple urban locations, 1% in places of worship (22), hospitals (20), and villages (15) respectively, and less than 1% on public transport (4), in schools (3), at public gatherings (2), and other populated locations (1) respectively. 

The regions in which civilian casualties were reported in Gaza in March are North Gaza (734 civilian casualties), South Gaza (545), and Central Gaza (468).

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

The use of air-launched weapons caused 53% (934) of civilian casualties, specifically air strikes (780 civilian casualties), and air-launched missiles (154). Ground-launched explosive weapons caused 28% (492) of civilian casualties, specifically non-specific shelling (295 civilian casualties), artillery shelling (80), ground-launched missiles (60), tank shelling (50), and combined ground-launched weapons (7). Weapons of unclear launch method caused 15% (258) of civilian casualties, specifically missiles (247) and combined explosive weapons (11). The use of weapons with combined launch methods caused 4% (63) of civilian casualties.

The number of civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Gaza in March 2024 fell compared to levels recorded in February, when 218 incidents resulted in 2,173 civilian casualties (1,395 killed, 778 injured). In January, AOAV recorded 255 incidents and 2,540 civilian casualties, of whom 1,795 were killed and 745 injured. 

UKRAINE

In March 2024, there were 269 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Ukraine, 266 of which caused 853 civilian casualties, 164 of whom were killed and 689 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 56 children, 116 women and 169 men. Overall, civilians accounted for 99% of all 859 casualties in Ukraine in March, as six armed actors were also reported injured.

92% (785) of civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 50% (428) occurred in urban residential areas, 22% (190) across multiple urban areas, 14% (121) in villages, 2% (16) in town centres, 1% (12) in transport related infrastructure, and less than 1% in commercial premises (4), roads (3), public transport (3), humanitarian infrastructure (3), hospitals (2), public gatherings (2), and public buildings (1) respectively.

The oblasts in which civilian casualties were reported in Ukraine in March are Donetsk (165 civilian casualties), Odesa (150), Kharkiv (124), Kherson (100), Dnipropetrovsk (92), Sumy (75), Zaporizhzhia (50), Mykolaiv (41), Kyiv (20), Khmelnytskyi (11), Luhansk (10), Chernihiv (5), Vinnytsia (5), Ivano Frankivsk (2), Lviv (2), Zhytomyr (1). 

The majority of civilian casualties, 98% (837), were attributed to state actors’ use of explosive weapons, specifically Russia (836 civilian casualties), and Ukraine (1). Actors of unknown name and status caused 2% (16) of civilian casualties.

The use of ground-launched weapons caused 51% (435) of civilian casualties, specifically ground-launched missiles (201 civilian casualties), non-specific shelling (179), artillery shelling (32), ground-launched rockets (12), combined ground-launched weapons (8), and mortars (3). 

Air-launched weapons caused 27% (228) of civilian casualties, specifically air strikes (187 civilian casualties), air-launched missiles (23), and air-dropped bombs (18). 

Weapons of unclear launch method caused 14% (117) of civilian casualties, specifically missiles (111 civilian casualties) and rockets (6). The use of combined explosive weapons caused 6% (53) of civilian casualties. Mines were the cause of 2% (18) of civilian casualties, specifically landmines (16 civilian casualties), anti-personnel mines (1), and anti-vehicle mines (1). IEDs caused less than 1% (2) of civilian casualties, specifically non-specific IEDs (one civilian casualty), and car bombs (1).

The number of civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Ukraine in March 2024 rose compared to levels recorded in February, when 218 incidents caused 613 civilian casualties, 163 of whom were killed and 450 injured. In January, 197 incidents were recorded, which caused 729 civilian casualties (151 killed, 578 injured).

MYANMAR

In March 2024, there were 34 incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in Myanmar, 29 of which resulted in 247 civilian casualties, 85 of whom were killed and 162 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 12 children, 26 women, and 12 men. Overall, civilians accounted for 85% of all 292 casualties recorded in Myanmar in March, as 45 armed actor casualties were also recorded, 24 of whom were killed and 21 injured. 

95% (234) of civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 54% (133) occurred in villages, 19% (48) in places of worship, 18% (44) in urban residential areas, 2% (6) on public transport, 1% (2) in schools, and less than 1% (1) in hospitals.

The states in which civilian casualties were recorded in Myanmar in March are Rakhine (156 civilian casualties), Kayah (38), Karen (27), Kachin (7), Tanintharyi (6), Yangon (5), Mon (5), and Sagaing (3). 

State actors, specifically the Myanmar military, caused 96% (238) of civilian casualties, and actors of unknown name and status caused 4% (9) of civilian casualties.

Air-launched weapons caused 64% (157) of civilian casualties, specifically air strikes (141 civilian casualties), and air-dropped bombs (16). Ground-launched weapons caused 31% (76) of civilian casualties, specifically artillery shelling (54 civilian casualties), grenades (20), and non-specific shelling (2). The use of naval-launched shells caused 2% (5) of civilian casualties, as did IEDs (5), specifically non-specific IEDs. Mines, specifically landmines, caused 2% (4) of civilian casualties.

Civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Myanmar in March 2024 decreased slightly compared to February, when 38 incidents caused 268 reported civilian casualties, 80 of whom were killed and 188 injured. In January, 74 incidents were recorded, which resulted in 326 civilian casualties (122 killed, 204 injured).

SYRIA

In March 2024, there were 73 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Syria, 32 of which resulted in 173 civilian casualties, 77 of whom were killed and 96 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 14 children, 13 women, and 11 men. Overall, civilians accounted for 40% of all 428 casualties recorded in Syria in March, as 255 armed actors casualties were also recorded, 194 of whom were killed and 61 injured. 

65% (112) of civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 24% (42) occurred across multiple urban locations, 21% (36) in villages, 15% (26) in urban residential areas, 4% (7) on public transport, and 1% (1) in armed bases.

The provinces in which civilian casualties were reported in Syria in March are Aleppo (69 civilian casualties), Deir Ezzor (46), Raqqa (36), Hama (13), Idlib (6), Damascus (2), and Rif Dimashq (1).

Non-state actors caused 36% (63) of civilian casualties, specifically Islamic State (51 civilian casualties) and unknown non-state actors (12). The use of explosive weapons by state actors caused 34% (59) of civilian casualties, specifically Syria (38 civilian casualties), unknown state actors (16), Israel (3), and Turkey (2). Actors of unknown name and status caused 29% (51) of civilian casualties.

The use of IEDs caused 52% (90) of civilian casualties, specifically non-specific IEDs (52 civilian casualties), car bombs (27), and roadside bombs (11). Air-launched weapons, specifically air strikes, caused 21% (37) of civilian casualties. Ground-launched weapons caused 12% (20) of civilian casualties, specifically mortar shells (10 civilian casualties), artillery shells (5), non-specific shelling (3), ground-launched rockets (1), and RPGs (1). Mines, specifically landmines, caused 10% (18) of civilian casualties, and weapons of unclear launch method, specifically missiles, caused 5% (8) of civilian casualties.

Civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Syria in March 2024 increased compared to levels recorded in February, when 86 incidents caused 131 civilian casualties, 53 of whom were killed and 78 injured. In January, 78 incidents were recorded, which caused 130 civilian casualties (44 killed, 86 injured).

SUDAN

In March 2024, there were 10 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Sudan, which caused 120 civilian casualties, 46 of whom were killed and 74 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 17 children, and two women. There were no recorded armed actor casualties in Sudan in March. 

All civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 58% (69) occurred in villages, 40% (48) in urban residential areas, and 3% (3) in encampments. 

The states in which civilian casualties were reported in Sudan in March are South Kordofan (69 civilian casualties), North Darfur (35), West Kordofan (13), and Darfur (3).

92% (110) of civilian casualties were caused by state actors, specifically the Sudanese Armed Forces. Simultaneous explosive weapon use by the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces caused 8% (10) of civilian casualties.

The use of air-launched weapons, specifically air strikes, caused 88% (105) of civilian casualties, while ground-launched weapons caused 13% (15), specifically non-specific shelling (10 civilian casualties) and combined ground-launched weapons (5).

Civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Sudan in March 2024 increased considerably compared to February, when eight incidents caused 77 reported civilian casualties (25 killed, 52 injured). In January, 15 incidents of explosive weapon use were recorded, which resulted in 172 reported civilian casualties (113 killed, 59 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.