ALERT – Launch of our new report: “Everywhere the bombing followed us”

Posted by: on Oct 5, 2017 | No Comments

One year after the launch of the report “Qasef: Escaping the bombing”, HI introduces its new report: “Everywhere the bombing followed us”.

To complement the previous findings, this report confirms that the use of explosive weapons in populated areas in Syria is an overriding factor in the forced displacement of population. Thus, this study highlights the use of explosive weapons in populated areas drives multiple forced displacements and induces a pattern of displacement which increased the vulnerability of civilians.
Through this report, Handicap international not only wants to give a voice to the forcibly displaced Syrians but also calls on the international community and on the parties to the conflict to end the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

The use of explosive weapons in populated areas drives multiple forced displacements

“You see people from Homs migrate to Aleppo and people from Aleppo migrate to Homs. Each time the bombing escalate, people escape. It’s the same in each city… We were in a state of continual settlement and migration. For Syrian people, life and death is on the road.” said Amira, 44. She used to live near Aleppo, where she was a teacher. From 2012 to 2015, she has witnessed bombing and shelling in her village, before she could flee to Turkey and then to Lebanon in 2016. One of her sons was killed during a bombing. She now lives alone with her younger son, and suffers from depression

Quantitative data collected during the survey reflects that:

  • The majority of respondents (some 133) had been displaced to 1 to 3 different Syrian cities prior to seeking refuge in Lebanon.
  • 44% of all respondents had their own homes destroyed due to the use of explosive weapons.
  • 36% of respondents directly linked the use of explosive weapons to the destruction of civilian property other than homes.
  • 83% of the respondents who sustained bombing-related injuries resulting in disability are men. Meanwhile, a higher percentage of female respondents (10% higher) referenced explosive violence causing injury to a family member or friend.
  • 44% of all those surveyed asserted that they had their livelihoods destroyed because of explosive weapons use.

The study demonstrates the considerable harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas in terms of socio-economic vulnerability, linked to the loss of livelihood and the disruption of civilian infrastructure, as well as the long-term impact on mental health. Therefore, the combination of fear, stress, and distress was identified as the third most important collective effect of explosive weapons use in Syria.

Towards an international political declaration on explosive weapons

During the past years, the United Nations Secretary General has expressed concern over the protection of civilians in conflict, identifying the use of explosive weapons in populated areas as a significant cause of concern in this regard. Around 70 states have now also recognised the use of explosive weapons in populated areas as a key humanitarian issue of concern. As a founding member of the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW), Handicap International has been calling for the development of an international political declaration on explosive weapons.
This study is meant as a contribution to this political process. Handicap International will present its new report “Everywhere the bombing followed us” on the 5th of October in Geneva and in New York on the 17th of October.

In parallel to these events, Handicap International has launched an international public campaign in September 2017. The petition “Stop bombing civilians” gathers hundreds of thousands of signatures, and media attention.

To say “Stop bombing civilians”, visit the website

Read the report in English; the summary in English, in French and in German.


Watch “Ranim’s story”, a multi-episode story based on real life stories of women refugees who fled Syria to escape the bombing and took refuge in Lebanon:

Episode 1 ‘Shattered

Episode 2 ‘Displaced

Episode 3 ‘Desperate

Episode 4 ‘Injured

Episode 5 ‘Safe

Read the testimonies of Syrian women in English: