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While Syria has referred to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA) and is participating in the process for a political declaration on this issue, it never acknowledged the harm caused by these weapons.


Syria participated in the Vienna Conference on the Protection of Civilians in Urban Warfare in 2019. It questioned the sources and methods of data collection cited in some presentations, alleging that some sources are propaganda. It also questioned the possibility of implementing the objectives of a declaration when there are threats from non-state actors that are recognised as terrorist groups by UN Security Council resolutions. It said it would like to see the capabilities of these groups be curtailed.[1]

Political declaration

Syria participated in the 2020 consultation meeting in Geneva. It stated that the political declaration should be in line with the UN Charter and should be preventative to avoid increase in urban nature of warfare; include a clear call to implement UN resolutions on combatting terrorism; respect sovereignty of states, territorial integrity, and non-interference in internal affairs; include a call to end foreign occupation as main cause of suffering of civilians; and reflect imposition of coercive measures on states and consequent inability to respond to needs of civilians.[2]

It also said the political declaration must include a clear article on the root causes of increasing use of urban warfare, foremost amongst which is support to armed terrorist groups that are able to occupy cities and towns using civilians as human shields.[3]

It said all data should be well documented and substantiated with evidence, and when referencing commitment to international humanitarian law (IHL) it is necessary to mention “in all contexts”. Finally, Syria said the political declaration should not “welcome” the work of the UN Security Council but refer to the UN Charter and the UN Secretary-General’s statement on fighting terrorism.[4]


[1] Reaching Critical Will (2019). ‘States Commit to Take Political Action on Explosive Weapons at Vienna conference’.

[2] Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will (2020). ‘Impacts, not Intentionality: The Imperative of Focusing on the Effects of Explosive Weapons in a Political Declaration’.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.


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