On June 10th, 2019, airstrikes launched by Syrian President Assad’s regime and its ally Russia killed 27 civilians, including 11 children, in Idlib, northwestern Syria, and injured more than 70.
The Idlib region, which is home to three million Syrians, is beyond government control and is supposed to be a protected buffer zone.
The White Helmets, a Syrian humanitarian relief organisation, confirmed the death toll and called this day one of the “bloodiest days in northern Syria.” The organisation tweeted images of victims, including women and children, and the rubble of houses that had collapsed, burying families inside.
Among the victims were a newborn baby girl and her mother, killed in an airstrike against their house.
Analysis by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights determined that the attack involved 105 strikes by government planes.
In the last few months President Assad, supported by Russian forces, has launched airstrikes against Hama and Idlib, which constitute the last remaining opposition strongholds in Syria. Since the end of April, 387 civilians have been killed as a result of this spike in violence, including 94 children.
Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) records casualties (i.e. people killed and injured) from explosive violence around the world as reported in English-language news sources.
AOAV’s findings from 2018 show that globally 32% of civilian casualties are caused by air-launched explosive weapons. In Syria, airstrikes caused 53% of civilian casualties. The number of civilian deaths and injuries in Syria was 27% lower in 2018 than in 2017 (9,587 and 13,062, respectively), but Syria still suffered the highest number of civilian casualties worldwide.
In total, across the entirety of the country, state actors were responsible for over three-quarters (77%) of civilian casualties from explosive violence.
AOAV condemns the use of violence against civilians and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. AOAV encourages all armed actors to stop using explosive weapons with wide-area affects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.