Syria slammed for using cluster bombs

2012-10-14 12:37
Syrian security officers gather at the scene in front of destroyed buildings where bombs exploded at the Saadallah al-Jabri square, in Aleppo city, Syria. (File, AP)

Syrian security officers gather at the scene in front of destroyed buildings where bombs exploded at the Saadallah al-Jabri square, in Aleppo city, Syria. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beirut - Human Rights Watch on Sunday accused the Syrian air force of using cluster bombs against rebels and in populated areas across the country.

"Syria’s disregard for its civilian population is all too evident in its air campaign, which now apparently includes dropping these deadly cluster bombs into populated areas," said Steve Goose, arms director at the New York-based group.

"Cluster bombs have been comprehensively banned by most nations, and Syria should immediately stop all use of these indiscriminate weapons that continue to kill and maim for years," he said in a statement.

HRW reported their increased use in the past week, notably in the Maaret al-Numan area where the armed forces have been locked in combat with rebels for control of the highway linking Damascus to the northern city of Aleppo.

But cluster bombs were also being dropped in the provinces of Aleppo, Homs, Latakia and Damascus, it said, basing its findings on videos posted online by Syrian activists.

"The cluster bomb canisters and submunitions shown in the videos all show damage and wear patterns produced by being mounted on and dropped from an aircraft," said HRW, although it did not have information on casualties.

"Human Rights Watch is deeply concerned by the risks posed by the unexploded submunitions to the civilian population, as men and even children can be seen in the videos handling the unexploded submunitions in life-threatening ways."

Syria has not ratified a convention banning cluster bombs that has been adopted by 109 countries since 2008. The weapon is estimated to have claimed tens of thousands of lives since 1965.

A cluster bomb can carry up to 650 submunitions which are sprayed over a large area and designed to detonate on impact.

But between five and 40% of them fail to explode and turn into anti-personnel mines which can prove deadly for civilian populations, according to Handicap International.

The NGO says that 98% of victims are civilians, 27% of them children who mistake the objects for toys.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    un  |  human rights watch  |  syria  |  syria conflict
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Lood leads heavy Bok assault
Hosts England crash out of RWC
Cotter takes loss on the chin
'Basic' Bok plan worked well
Traffic Alerts

Spontaneity is the order of the day. Let go and have some fun. Try not to set too many set plans and expectations and enjoy more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.