Syria: New Russian-made cluster munition reported

Human Rights Watch: An advanced type of Russian cluster munition was used in an airstrike southwest of Aleppo on October 4, 2015, Human Rights Watch said today. The use of the weapon near the village of Kafr Halab raises grave concerns that Russia is either using cluster munitions in Syria or providing the Syrian air force with new types of cluster munitions to use.

New photographs and videos also suggest renewed use of air-dropped cluster munitions as well as ground-fired Russian-made cluster munition rockets as part of the joint Russian-Syrian offensive in northern Syria.

“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,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Neither Russia nor Syria should use cluster munitions, and both should join the international ban without delay.” [Continue reading…]

Last month, Human Rights Watch researcher, Ole Solvang, wrote about Saudi Arabia’s use of cluster bombs in Yemen: Cluster munitions were used in Yemen in past wars and now Saudi Arabia and members of its coalition are dropping bombs and launching rockets with this indiscriminate weapon on populated areas.

The U.S. is providing logistical and intelligence support for the coalition, and if it is providing targeting assistance for cluster munition strikes, it could be complicit in resulting laws-of-war violations. What’s more, the evidence we found of cluster rocket use just a few weeks ago showed that they were manufactured by U.S. companies. U.S. officials have expressed concern at the use of cluster munitions by Syria, South Sudan, Ukraine, and Sudan yet when it comes to the use of cluster munitions by the coalition in Yemen, the U.S. has been silent. [Continue reading…]

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