The Daily Beast reports: As evidence mounts that Russia is deliberately targeting civilians in Syria with cluster bombs and other anti-personnel weapons, what has long been a nagging question about Washington’s policy has now taken on real urgency: Why is there no comment from the U.S. government is to confirm or refute the allegations of war crimes?
A Human Rights Watch report out Thursday documents how Russian aircraft dropped cluster bombs on an informal fuel market outside Termanin, a village in Idlib province, on July 11, killing 10 and wounding more than 30 people. The victims were all civilians and included two who were first responders.
According to HRW, three fighter aircraft, two of them SU-34s flown only by Russia, and an SU-24 that’s in both the Russian and Syrian air force, launched eight attacks: the first two of them using cluster bombs — large canisters containing dozens of tiny bomblets that scatter through the air and across the ground. Many do not explode — at first, but may kill and maim days, months, even years later.
HRW noted that cluster bombs are “inherently indiscriminate, and repeated strikes on the target even after first responders arrived make the attack unlawful.”
Russia is not a party to the international accord banning cluster munitions, but it is party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which list indiscriminate attacks as a grave breach. So are the U.S. and Syria. The conventions not only require their signers to uphold the stated rules, but to see to it that they are upheld by others. [Continue reading…]