The New York Times reports: Syrian government aircraft hit the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Daraya with incendiary bombs for the third straight day on Wednesday, according to local council members, who said the weapons were packed with substances akin to napalm.
Incendiary bombs emit bright light that resembles fireworks and ignite persistent fires, heating to temperatures up to 10 times the boiling point of water.
Usually armed with thermite or phosphorus, which can cause horrific burns like those inflicted by napalm in American bombardments during the Vietnam War, the weapons are increasingly being used in attacks on rebel-held areas, especially in the contested northern city of Aleppo, according to Syrian opposition activists and human rights groups that are calling for an end to the practice.
And the Syrian government’s most powerful ally, Russia, may also be using the weapons in its own airstrikes, Human Rights Watch contends, citing footage from Russian state-run television that showed the bombs clearly labeled on an attack aircraft in Syria, and similar casings found at attack sites.
Incendiary weapons have been used at least 18 times in the past nine weeks, Human Rights Watch said in a report issued this week, mostly in and around Aleppo, as well as in Idlib Province. The group said that activists and residents had reported at least 40 other cases, but that it had confirmed only 18 through video footage and other evidence. [Continue reading…]