Mortar Victims Toll
This report view only mortar shells victims’ toll, as government forces were the first to use different kinds of weapons since March 2011 and gradually to the use of Scud missiles and poisoned gas.
According to SNHR archive government forces first use of mortar shells was in shelling Duma in Rural Damascus on Monday August 1, 2011, where a shell fell nearby the Commercial Bank in Duma and killed one person, after that government forces expanded the use of mortar to all the provinces, and when the Syrian Opposition started arming itself, the mortar was one of the very first weapons used as it is a simple artillery weapon easy to set up and dismantle, and as they don’t have precise weapons like missiles and warplanes, they’ve carried out using mortar shells up till the moment of printing this report, and after extremist groups such as An-Nusra Front and ISIS used by them for the same reasons, also by YPG.
This study shows 69 of the most notable mortar shelling incidents that led to the deaths or injuries of victims, and targeting the vital centers, since March 2011 and until the moment of printing this report, as we included in the report 19 testimony of eyewitnesses or victims injured in these incidents.
SNHR team noticed that in most cases there is no use of GPS and shells launch computers which made it a random weapon and therefore indiscriminate, government forces use 60-80-120 mm mortar shells imported from Russia, as for the other parties they depend on what they gain from the government forces, or locally make the mortar cannon
As we also noticed that most civilians killed by the armed opposition factions forces were killed by mortar shells.
Finally, we indicate that there are a lot of incidents where victims fell after the indiscriminate mortar shelling, we could not determine the source of the shelling and therefore who is responsible for it, this happened particularly in Damascus and Aleppo, despite many opposition factions (which are not united) issuing multiple statement about targeting the headquarters and security centers in areas controlled by government forces in the cities, a goal that is difficult to accurately hit, and thus cause the deaths of many civilians in the neighborhoods and surrounding streets, but many of the investigations and testimonies also proved that the government forces exploited this data, and bombed neighborhoods nearby from inside the security headquarters itself.