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Explosive violence in November 2019

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In November 2019, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 2,223 deaths and injuries from 347 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 67% (1,484) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 90% of all casualties were civilians, compared to 24% in other areas.

Of the main explosive launch method types, each were responsible for about one third of civilian casualties from explosive violence last month: 33% were caused by air-launched weapons, 29% were caused by ground-launched explosives, and 33% were caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). (The remaining civilian casualties were caused by landmines, incidents using multiple launch methods and where the launch method was unclear.) In total, 67% of civilian casualties were caused by manufactured weapons.

At least one death or injury from explosive violence was recorded in 21 countries and territories last month. The five worst impacted countries were Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and Iraq in terms of civilian casualties.

Syria was the country worst impacted by explosive weapons in November, with 771 civilian casualties from such violence. While 39% of recorded civilian casualties in Syria were caused by airstrikes last month, 24% were caused by ground-launched explosives and 33% 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, with a 420% increase in civilian casualties from explosive violence between September and October. This rise was maintained last month as the violence continued.

While Afghanistan remained the second-worst impacted country from explosive weapons, November saw a continued decrease in civilian casualties from explosive weapons. 800 civilian casualties were recorded in September, while in October, 372 were recorded. This decreased again last month to 189 civilian casualties.

Yemen saw 118 civilian casualties from the use of explosive weapons last month. 78% of civilian casualties were caused by state actor use of explosive weapons, while 22% were caused by non-state actor use. While in Libya, most civilian casualties from explosive violence were due to airstrikes and shelling by Haftar’s forces, which were responsible for at least 83 of the 95 civilian casualties recorded last month.

In Iraq, IEDs were responsible for most civilian casualties from explosive weapons, having caused 75 of the 88 civilian casualties last month. Civilian casualties were also caused by Turkish airstrikes.

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.