Sunday, 12 October 2014 14:57

Assad Regime Ranked Third on the Scale of Using Cluster Munitions

The Syrian Network for Human Rights said it had documented at least 83 attacks carried by regime forces using cluster munitions during the period between January 25 and September 21, 2014. Approximately 49 people, including 16 children and four women, were killed in these attacks that also caused around 250 injuries. The remnants of these munitions has caused the deaths of at least 15 people, including seven children and three women. The group, the Cluster Munition Coalition, said in an annual report, “Cluster Munition Monitor 2014,” that it had documented at least 264 deaths and 1,320 injuries in Syria from cluster bombs used in 2012 and 2013, and that “hundreds more were recorded in the first half of 2014.” Ninety-seven percent of the dead in Syria were civilians, the report said, and the number of such injuries doubled in 2013 from the year before, suggesting that the weapons had been increasingly deployed in more heavily populated areas. Although the report did not specify whether government forces or insurgents were using them, munitions experts have said that only the Syrian military has the technical capability. “This year’s use of cluster munitions shows that while these weapons have been banned by most countries of the world, some actors still flout international opinion and standards,” Mary Wareham, the advocacy director of Human Rights Watch’s arms division and an editor of the report, said in a statement issued by the coalition in advance of the report’s release. The group’s statement said, “Already, casualties in Syria are higher than those attributed to the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict that triggered global outrage and contributed to the establishment of the ban convention.” In a 23 October 2012 statement, Human Rights Watch said that Syrian military denials notwithstanding, HRW had "evidence of ongoing cluster bomb attacks" by Syria’s air force. HRW has confirmed reports "through interviews with victims, other residents and activists who filmed the cluster munitions", as well as "analysis of 64 videos and also photos showing weapon remnants" of cluster bomb strikes.[26] The use, production, stockpiling, and transfer of cluster munitions is prohibited by the 2008 international Convention on Cluster Munitions treaty. Use of cluster bombs have been considered a grave threat to civilian populations because of the bombs' ability to randomly scatter thousands of sub-munitions or "bomblets" over a vast area, many of which remain waiting to explode, taking civilian lives and limbs long after the conflict is over. (Source: Syrian Coalition)

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