13 October 2012


A screenshot from a video compiled by Human Rights watch, showing a collection of YouTube footage of cluster bombs recently dropped in Syria (London, 14 October 2012): Following evidence released by CMC member organisation Human Rights Watch and others, showing widespread use of cluster munitions by Syrian Armed Forces in recent days, the CMC is calling on the Syrian government to stop immediately all use of these banned weapons, and is pressing all other states to condemn this further outrage against Syria’s population.Amy Little, Campaign Manager for the CMC, said: "This new evidence confirms our worst fears. It now appears that in the past week the Assad regime has used cluster bombs in numerous locations, including in populated areas, risking the lives of far too many civilians. This absolutely has to stop. We urge the many states that have already banned these indiscriminate weapons to publicly condemn Syria’s actions and to call for a complete halt in cluster bomb use. We encourage other countries to also make this demand in recognition of the danger these weapons pose to civilians."Human Rights Watch has confirmed that the cluster munition remnants shown in the videos are Soviet-made RBK-250 series cluster bomb canisters and AO-1SCh fragmentation bomblets. It is not known at this time from where Syria acquired them.For the CMC this tragedy further underlines the need for all production and trade of cluster bombs to end now. The CMC reiterates its call for all countries to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions and to end for all time the unacceptable harm to innocent civilians caused by cluster bombs."As we have seen in Lao PDR, Lebanon, Iraq, Serbia and elsewhere, cluster munitions have a devastating impact, both at the time of use and for years after a conflict ends, and they will only prolong civilian suffering in Syria. It is for this reason cluster bombs have been recognised as unacceptable – under all circumstances – and banned by the vast majority of the world," Little added."The footage of people – even children – handling unexploded submunitions in Syria is of massive concern. Not only must all use of cluster munitions in Syria stop, but these unexploded submunitions need to be cleared and destroyed immediately, and clear warnings given out about the terrible danger they pose," said Little.

  • States that have condemned Syria's use of cluster munitions: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Qatar, Switzerland,the United Kingdom and the United States. Japan has also condemned use without naming Syria.
  • Access Human Rights Watch 23.10.12 media release which confirms casualties from Syria's cluster munition strikes.
  • Access Human Rights Watch 14.10.12 media release.
  • View the videos posted to YouTube showing cluster bombs in Syria on this blog run by Eliot Higgins, aka Brown Moses
  • Read the CMC’s response to previous allegations that cluster bombs had been used in Syria.
  • Find out more details on Syria’s position regarding cluster bombs on the Cluster Munition Monitor 2012.
  • Visit another section of the CMC's website for details global cluster bomb problem, the ban on the weapon, and what cluster bombs are.