“Indiscriminate harm”: explosive weapons in populated areas raised at UN protection debate, expert meeting announced

On 30 January 2015, the UN Security Council held an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. A number of delegations raised concerns about the humanitarian harm caused by the use explosive weapons in populated areas, the threat to civilian protection that such actions pose, and the new international standards that are needed as a result. During the debate, Austria announced that it will hold an expert meeting on explosive weapons in September in Vienna. The Vienna meeting will follow previous discussions hosted by... Read more

Humanitarian leaders call for no more use of explosive weapons in populated areas in Syria

Ahead of the Geneva II peace talks that are set to start this week, humanitarian leaders have signed this letter which calls on parties to the conflict to end the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. The letter has been coordinated by Save the Children, an INEW member, and is being published in The Times and other news outlets today. Sir: With the parties in Syria’s conflict meeting in Geneva tomorrow, we believe the time has come to urgently... Read more

ORG research: Explosive weapons are primary cause of death for children in Syria

New research published by Oxford Research Group in the report “Stolen Futures: the hidden toll of child casualties in Syria” shows that the primary cause of death for children during the conflict in Syria has been the use of explosive weapons in populated areas The report draws on four different casualty recording databases for the conflict in Syria and provides analysis of the number of casualties, their identities as well as how, when and where they have been killed. The study notes... Read more

NPA develops explosive risk education website in Syria

NPA has launched an explosive risk education website for Syria, the first of its kind. The website is in Arabic. In the context of the on-going conflict in Syria, the website aims to assist civilians trapped in areas where shelling, bombing, and the use of other explosive weapons continues.  The website contains a set of basic preventive messages focusing on measures individuals can take to protect themselves during explosive weapons attacks. These messages include what to do in preparation for an attack, such... Read more

‘Friends of Syria’ group raise concerns over use of explosive weapons in Syria

The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria, fuelled by the widespread use of explosive weapons by both government forces and non-state armed groups has prompted states and international organisations to call for an end to the use of ‘heavy weapons’ in ‘urban areas’. Recently the Friends of Syria group or ‘London 11′ including the UK, Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Italy, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States, issued a communiqué on 22 October condemning “the regime’s escalating indiscriminate... Read more

States should avoid the use of explosive weapons in populated areas in Syria

INEW calls on all states to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas, and to condemn such use by others.

HRW: Ballistic Missiles Killing Civilians in Syria, Many Children

Ballistic missiles fired by the Syrian military are hitting populated areas, causing large numbers of civilian deaths, including many children. The most recent attack Human Rights Watch investigated, in Aleppo governorate on July 26, 2013, killed at least 33 civilians, including 17 children.

AOAV report ‘An Explosive Situation’: 26% increase from last year in civilian casualties from explosive weapons

An Explosive Situation, the latest report from Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), was launched today, 12 April 2013. It reveals the cost of the use of explosive weapons for unarmed civilians, including children. AOAV recorded a 26% increase in the number of civilians who were killed and injured by bombings around the world in 2012, up from 2011. More than 27,000 civilians were reportedly killed and injured by weapons such as rockets, air-dropped bombs, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). 91%... Read more

HRW documents airstrikes and extensive use of explosive weapons in Syria

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has documented the Syrian Air Force repeatedly carrying out indiscriminate, and in some cases deliberate, air strikes using explosive weapons against civilians. The 80-page report, “Death from the Skies: Deliberate and Indiscriminate Air Strikes on Civilians” is based on visits to 50 sites of government air strikes in opposition-controlled areas in Aleppo, Idlib, and Latakia governorates, and more than 140 interviews with witnesses and victims. The air strikes Human Rights Watch documented killed at least 152... Read more

Save the Children: explosive weapons causing severe harm to children in Syria

Save the Children published a report on 13 March that bears testimony to the grave impact of two years of fighting on children in Syria. Few children have been spared the effects of the conflict involving bombardment and shelling with explosive weapons of their homes, neighbourhoods and schools. Children are being deprived of food, water, health care, education and safety. At least 2 million children are in need of assistance in Syria. The report ‘Childhood Under Fire‘ draws on testimonies... Read more

Bombardment of Aleppo: Article 36 piece on heavy weapons and civilian protection

A satellite image of Aleppo circulated by Amnesty International to illustrate concerns over the use of heavy weapons in civilian areas. Article 36 has posted the following piece on the situation in Aleppo and the response from the international community in calling for an end to the use of heavy weapons in population centres. The piece includes a link to a policy note explaining how these concerns reflect the same humanitarian problem as the call by the International Network on... Read more

Syria: UN speaks out against use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas

The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, has spoken out about the use of explosive weapons in populated areas during the bombardment of the Syrian city of Homs. In a series of key messages on Syria issued on 10 February 2012, the Emergency Relief Coordinator said: “The use of mortars, rockets and other explosives against people in some of the most densely populated parts of Homs, is abhorrent.  It is causing widespread suffering now, and the damage to buildings and... Read more

Action on Armed Violence update on explosive weapons in Homs

Action on Armed Violence has issued an update highlighting concerns over the use of explosive weapons in the Syrian city of Homs. AOAV calls for an end to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and “condemns the use of indirect-fire weapons, such as artillery shells and multi-launch rocket systems (MLRS) in civilian areas as entirely unacceptable.” Action on Armed Violence notes: “The range and intensity of the explosive weapons used by the Syrian armed forces in Homs marks... Read more

Article 36 highlights concern over use of explosive weapons in Syria

INEW member Article 36 has issued a statement highlighting the humanitarian consequences of the use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas of the Syrian city of Homs over the past few days. The statement  is available on the Article 36 website and follows below. Explosive weapons in Syria 6 February 2012 The use of explosive weapons in Syria over the past several months has been an indicator of crisis unfolding and civilian protection being gravely eroded.  The escalation of... Read more