18 March 2013

Devastating scale of Cluster Bomb use in Syria

(London, 18 March 2013) The scale of cluster bomb use in Syria has been revealed as widespread and on-going in a new review released by Human Rights Watch (HRW). This information, derived from Human Rights Watch field investigations and from preliminary analysis of over 450 videos posted to the internet by activists, identifies more than 150 cluster bomb attacks in at least 119 locations across Syria in the period from August 2012 through mid-February. New incidents of use of cluster bombs by the Assad regime have also been reported in the last two weeks.

Use of this indiscriminate weapon has led to mounting casualties, including women and children. In addition, there is a growing concern for the potential scale of post-conflict casualties as this notoriously unreliable weapon leaves a trail of unexploded sub-munitions in its wake.

“Syria is expanding its relentless use of cluster munitions, a banned weapon, and civilians are paying the price with their lives and limbs,” said Steve Goose, director of the Arms division at Human Rights Watch. “The initial toll is only the beginning because cluster munitions often leave unexploded bomblets that kill and maim long afterward.”

According to the Associated Press, an anonymous senior Syrian government official has rejected the HRW findings.

To read more on the review, please see Human Rights Watch’s media release. ADD EXTERNAL LINK

To read previous web stories on Syria, please click here. ADD LINK

More than 15 governments to date have condemned Syria’s use of cluster munitions, including 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.

Remnants of a RBK-250/275 AO-1SCh cluster bomb in Deir Jamal from a strike on February 28, 2013.
Remnants of a RBK-250/275 AO-1SCh cluster bomb in Deir Jamal from a strike on February 28, 2013. © Copyright © 2013 Human Rights Watch