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Citizens for Justice and Peace

Sharp increase in civilians killed by explosive weapons in 2017

11, Jan 2018 | CJP Team

The Guardian reported that, according to a global survey it was able to access, explosive weapons killed more than 15,000 civilians in 2017, indicating a 42% spike in a year. According to the Guardian, the increase was spurred by airstrikes, “which killed almost double the number of civilians in 2017 compared with the previous year,” and corresponded with the United States-led military campaigns to recapture Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria, both ISIS bastions. Action on Armed Violence, which, according to its website “seeks to reduce the impact of armed violence through monitoring and research of the causes and consequences of weapon-based violence,” compiled the survey, the Guardian said. The survey indicates that civilian deaths due to air-launched explosives increased by 82%, going from 4,902 in 2016 to 8,932 in 2017. According to the Guardian, the worst-hit countries were Afghanistan, which saw 994 non-combatants’ deaths, Iraq and Syria, which saw a 50% and 55% rise in civilian deaths respectively. Chris Woods, the director of Airwars, which tracks civilian casualties from international airstrikes in Iraq, Libya, and Syria told the Guardian, “War is moving into cities. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Russia or the US-led coalition or ground forces leading the assault, the outcome for civilians under attack is always dire.” 

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