Civilians Killed or Injured by Explosives Jumps More Than 50 Percent Over 5 Years, Report Finds

More than 33,000 civilians were killed or injured by explosive weapons in 2015.

ByLENA MASRI
April 27, 2016, 1:26 PM
PHOTO:Afghan onlookers stand at the site of a suicide car bomb near the international airport in Kabul, Dec. 28, 2015.
Afghan onlookers stand at the site of a suicide car bomb near the international airport in Kabul, Dec. 28, 2015.
AFP/Getty Images

— -- The number of innocent people who have lost their lives to airstrikes, car bombs and suicide belts has increased dramatically over the last five years.

More than 33,000 civilians were killed or injured by explosive weapons in 2015 -- that’s a 50 percent increase in five years, according to a new report from the Action on Armed Violence, a U.K.-based organization that aims to reduce global armed violence.

When explosives are used to attack populated areas, such as towns or cities, more than 90 percent of the people who die or are injured are civilians, the study states.

“We acknowledge the right for states to protect themselves, but the use of weaponry that is both inaccurate and causes wide-area effects we believe put civilians in incredible danger,” Iain Overton, AOAV’s director of policy and investigations, told ABC News. “We call on states to refrain from using explosive weapons in populated areas.”

In Turkey, the number of civilian deaths caused by explosives increased by 7,682 percent last year alone, according to the study. The country is not only seeing a rise in civilian deaths because of the conflict between Turkey and Kurdish militants, but also because of several high-profile suicide attacks carried out by groups with links to ISIS.

Last year, 21 countries saw suicide bomb attacks, the largest number of countries ever affected by such attacks in a single year based on AOAV’s research.

Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Nigeria and Afghanistan had the highest number of civilian deaths and injuries in 2015. More than 10,000 deaths and injuries were recorded by AOAV in Syria.

“The mass diaspora of refugees we see in the gates of Europe is directly fueled by the use of explosive weapons in places like Syria and Iraq,” said Overton.

When world leaders meet for the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul next month, one of the topics on the agenda will be how to spare civilians from violent attacks.

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