Reducing Civilian Harm in Urban Warfare: A Handbook for Armed Groups

Fighting in urban areas takes place where there are many civilians and civilian objects, causing significant suffering to civilians. This handbook explains methods of reducing harm to civilians during non-international armed conflicts.

This handbook spells out the responsibilities of commanders, fighters, planners and supporting groups under customary international humanitarian law (CIHL), and makes a number of recommendations. Most of these recommendations are based on good practices that the ICRC has identified by analysing urban fighting, and on extensive consultations with the commanders and fighters of non-state armed groups. These good practices are not exhaustive and may not suit every situation, but all commanders should consider and apply these measures, together with any others that could prevent or minimize harm to civilians.