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Monday, 21 December 2015 18:44

Human Rights Watch Denounces Russia’s Extensive Use of Cluster Bombs in Syria

Spokesman for the Syrian Coalition Salem al-Meslet welcomed a Human Rights Watch’s report condemning the extensive use of cluster bombs in Syria during the military offensive carried out by the Russian and Assad regime forces against the Syrian people and rebel fighters since 30 September.

In a report released on Sunday, December 20, Human Rights Watch said that they documented the use of cluster munitions on at least 20 occasions since the Assad regime and Russia began their joint offensive on September 30. Human Rights Watch collected detailed information about attacks in nine locations where at least 35 civilians were killed, including five women and 17 children, and dozens were injured.

Two of the attacks hit camps for the displaced. For the other attacks, Human Rights Watch obtained visual confirmation of the cluster munition used and a second source confirmed the attack. Cluster munitions used in Syria recently which Human Rights Watch was able to confirm were manufactured in the former Soviet Union or the Russian Federation.

The joint military offensive by Russia and the Assad regime has seen extensive use of cluster munitions – inherently indiscriminate and internationally banned weapons.

The use of such ammunition violates United Nations resolution 2139 of February 22, 2014, which demanded that all parties involved in Syria end “indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas,” Human Rights Watch said. HRW also refuted a statement issued by the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates on November 9, 2015, in which the regime claimed that the Syrian Arab Armed Forces do not and will not use indiscriminate weapons.

“Syria’s promises on indiscriminate weapons ring hollow when cluster munitions keep hitting civilians in many parts of the country,” said Ole Solvang, deputy emergencies director. “The UN Security Council should get serious about its commitment to protect Syria’s civilians by publicly demanding that all sides stop the use of cluster munitions.” (Source: Syrian Coalition)