Activists said that at least 42 civilians, including five children and two women, were killed in attacks by the Assad regime across Syria on Thursday. Internationally banned weapons were used in many of these attacks on liberated areas.
Nations attending the annual meeting of the international treaty banning cluster munitions on September 7, 2016, condemned the continued use of these weapons in Syria, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.
During the three-day meeting in Geneva, first responders, local activists, and journalists reported at least eight cluster munition attacks in Syria in the past week, some of which killed and injured civilians, including children.
“We are outraged that yet more civilians in Syria lost their lives to cluster munitions this week as countries were meeting to discuss the international ban on these weapons,” said Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch and chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition, an international group of organizations working to end the use of the banned weapons.
The 55 state parties participating in the sixth annual meeting of the Convention on Cluster Munitions adopted a declaration in which they condemned any use by any actor of the banned weapons, adding that they were deeply concerned by any and all allegations, reports or documented evidence of the use of cluster munitions.
Activists said that the Assad regime has stepped up attacks using cluster munitions on rebel-held areas in the past few days, most notably on Aleppo. The attacks have enabled regime forces to re-impose siege on the eastern parts of the city.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that the Assad regime’s air force has dropped no fewer than 1,379 barrel bombs on the rebel-held areas across Syria during August. Nearly 111 civilians, including 35 children and 16 women, have been killed in these attacks, the rights group said. It added that at least seven vital civilian facilities have also been targeted in these attacks.
The network called upon the UN Security Council to ensure full implementation of the resolutions it passed on Syria, warning that failure to do so risks discrediting the UN. It also called for imposing an arms embargo on the Assad regime and for sanctioning the parties supplying the Assad regime with money and weapons.
The Syrian Coalition earlier said that the international community’s silence on Assad’s crimes has encouraged the regime to repeatedly use internationally banned weapons against unarmed civilians.
The Coalition stressed that “the international community’s failure to take concrete action towards the crimes of the Assad regime and the failure of the UN Security Council to defend the resolutions it passed on Syria has given the Assad regime a green light to commit more crimes against the Syrian people using all means of murder at its disposal.”
The Coalition pointed out that deterring the Assad regime from carrying on with such crimes requires the referral of the regime’s violations of UN Security Council resolutions to the International Criminal Court. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)