HRW: Russia and Assad Carry out Daily Cluster Bomb Attacks

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said regime forces and the Russian military have been carrying out daily cluster bomb attacks in Syria over the past few weeks.

A Human Rights Watch report, released Monday, said that internationally banned cluster munitions were used in at least 14 attacks across five provinces since Jan. 26. HRW said the attacks killed at least 37 civilians, including six women and nine children, and wounded dozens.

Nadim Houry, HRW deputy Middle East director, said that “any solution of the Syrian crisis needs to address ongoing indiscriminate attacks. A good place to start would be a commitment by Russia and Syria to stop using cluster munitions.”

HRW said the International Syria Support Group meeting in Germany on Thursday “should make protecting civilians and ending indiscriminate attacks, including with cluster munitions, a key priority.”

The surge in cluster munition use has taken place in the context of intensified Russian and Assad regime military offensive to establish control over key strategic territory in the governorates of Aleppo, Damascus, Idlib, Homs, and Hama. The recent regime offensive around Aleppo has caused at least 20,000 people to flee towards the Turkish border.

Human Rights Watch said it had received photographs taken by local people showing the remnants of an RBK-500 series bomb and its payload of ShOAB-0.5 and AO-2.5 RT/RTM sub-munitions.

The Syrian Coalition reiterated that all initiatives aimed at reaching a political solution are doomed to fail unless the UN Security Council resolution 2139 is enforced, including the cessation of indiscriminate shelling and the barrel bombing of populated areas. The Coalition stressed the need to the immediate lifting of sieges across Syria and the delivery of relief aid to those in need. (Source: Syrian Coalition)