For over a decade, the widespread use of explosive weapons by all sides in the Syrian conflict has been well documented by a litany of public sources. Many of these explosive munitions fail to detonate as intended, thereby becoming unexploded ordnance (UXO) that threaten post-conflict recovery. To begin the process of clearing these explosive remnants of war (ERW), desk studies/non-technical studies can be utilized to initially assess the concentration and distribution of explosive weapons across a conflict zone, which in turn suggest the risk of UXO in an area. Traditional methods in non-technical surveys (NTS) focus on unweighted conflict intensity scores (counting the number of events) or after-the-fact munition detonations to determine current contamination.The authors propose a novel, nuanced approach to counting the number of munitions per event, not just the number of events. This new open-source weighted estimate (OSWE) method contains higher-fidelity data for analysis with more specific coverage across a larger geographic area than prior models. Using crucial and corroborated open-source investigation workflows, the authors created a nationwide assessment paradigm. In comparison with older models, we anticipate that the OSWE method of estimating UXO concentration is more useful across a greater range of geographic scopes through its leverage of big data, weighted nature, and data selection for events likely to generate UXO. The OSWE method also produces an estimate for UXO in Syria (a minimum of 100,000 nationwide). These are important findings, as more accurate estimates can be replicated across contexts, including in Ukraine.
Stall, Hampton; Hudson, Jennifer; Leendertse, Evan; Prasad, Hari; McNaboe, Chris; Shabb, Rana; and Robinson, Jonathan
"Mapping Unexploded Ordnance in Syria: Harnessing the Power of Open-Source,"
The Journal of Conventional Weapons Destruction: Vol. 26
, Article 10.
Available at: https://commons.lib.jmu.edu/cisr-journal/vol26/iss1/10