General Coordinator of the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) Riayd Hijab called on the United Nations to investigate the repeated use of air-delivered incendiary bombs by Russian forces operating in Syria.
In letters to the UN Secretary-General and Security Council delivered Thursday, Hijab called for immediate measures by the international community to protect civilians from Russian indiscriminate airstrikes.
“Incendiary weapons rank among the world’s most powerful explosives and are known to have devastating effects on civilians. They cause immensely painful burns and prompt fires that are hard to extinguish. Yet, Russian forces have systematically and deliberately used incendiary weapons to kill, maim and terrorize innocent civilians in Syria, including women and children,” Hijab said.
The use of incendiary weapons and cluster munitions by Russian forces in civilian populated areas in Syria has been documented. In recent weeks, thermite, which experts have likened to ‘mini nuclear bombs,’ has been used throughout Aleppo by Russian forces in an attempt to terrorize the civilian population. The use of incendiary air-delivered weapons in civilian populated areas is prohibited under international law, including the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, to which Russia is a signatory.
Hijab urged the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki moon to launch an investigation into the use of incendiary aerial weapons by Russia in Syria. He asked for protection for Syrian civilians from the use incendiary aerial weapons, calling on the UN member states to act to show there are consequences for repeated breaches of international humanitarian law by Russian and Syrian forces.
“The Assad regime and Russia have not yet to suffer any consequences for their repeated breaches of international humanitarian law, which has allowed the situation in Syria to deteriorate. As a result, more and more Syrian lives are lost; a global refugee crisis is happening; and extremist terrorist groups are benefiting in Syria,” Hijab said. “The whole world is less safe because the world has failed to act on our people’s behalf.”
Russia’s use of incendiary weapons in Syria was captured on camera by Russia’s mouthpiece channel Russia Today which aired a footage showing the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visiting Hmeymim airbase in Latakia province last Saturday. The footage showed a Russian plane loaded with munitions that experts from Human Rights Watch and open-source intelligence groups have identified as incendiary bombs mounted on a Su-34 ground attack aircraft – specifically RBK-500 ZAB-2.5SM bombs. (Source: Syrian Coalition)