By Jennifer Dathan
On January 15th 2020, airstrikes on Idlib city left at least 19 dead, with a further 65 injured, according to the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations.
Idlib city is a densely packed urban area and if airstrikes on the city continue there will be many civilian casualties and displaced.
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 has consistently found that when explosive weapons are used in populated areas, over 90% of the casualties are likely to be civilians.
Last month, Idlib province was the worst impacted area in Syria. 73% of civilian casualties from the use of explosive weapons in Syria, occurred in Idlib.
Whilst Syria remained the country worst impacted by explosive weapons last year, casualties decreased by about one quarter, compared to the previous year; with 9,587 civilian casualties recorded in 2018 to 7,268 last year.
However, the US withdrawal in October and subsequent Turkish offensive sparked a rise in casualties over the last few months of the year. Having seen civilian casualties decrease to 145 in September 2019, October and November saw over 750 civilian casualties per month, while December fell slightly to 617. Civilian casualties from Russian and regime airstrikes also increased over this period.
The rise in civilian casualties from airstrikes looks as if it may continue into 2020.
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.