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October 12, 2015

Russian cluster munition involved in Syrian warfare, says HRW

The recent airstrikes occurring in Syria involved Russian cluster munition, raising concerns that either Russia is using or providing the Syrian air force with new types of cluster munitions, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has argued.

By Samseer M

Syria

The recent airstrikes occurring in Syria involved Russian cluster munition, raising concerns that either Russia is using or providing the Syrian air force with new types of cluster munitions, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has argued.

According to HRW, the photographs and videos also suggest the use of air-dropped cluster munitions as well as ground-fired Russian-made cluster munition rockets in the country.

Human Rights Watch deputy Middle East director Nadim Houry said: "It’s disturbing that yet another type of cluster munition is being used in Syria given the harm they cause to civilians for years to come.

"Neither Russia nor Syria should use cluster munitions, and both should join the international ban without delay."

Containing hundreds of submunitions that explode after spreading out over a wide area, cluster munitions pose long-term dangers to civilians and are prohibited by a 2008 treaty adopted by 116 countries.

"It’s disturbing that yet another type of cluster munition is being used in Syria given the harm they cause to civilians for years to come."

The watchdog has been documenting the use of cluster munitions in the war in Syria since 2012.

The new photographs were reportedly taken from the countryside near Kafr Halab and revealed the remnants of SPBE sensor fuzed submunitions, marking the use of such weapons in Syria for the first time, HRW stated.

Meanwhile, the organisation said that it cannot determine whether Russian or Syrian forces were responsible for the attack and neither country has banned cluster munitions.

In May, HRW argued that the Saudi-led Arab coalition used US-supplied, banned cluster munitions to conduct airstrikes against Shiite Houthi rebel forces in Yemen.


Image: SPBE sensor fuzed submunitions in countryside near Kafr Halab, Syria on 6 October, 2015. Photo: ©2015 Shaam News Network.

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