Print options

March 16, 2013

Syria Expands Use of Cluster Bombs says HRW

by VOA News

An international human rights group says Syrian forces are expanding their use of banned cluster bombs in residential areas, causing mounting civilian casualties.  

Cluster bombs open in flight, scattering smaller bomblets.  They pose a threat to civilians long afterwards, since many do not explode immediately.

Human Rights Watch said Saturday it has identified at least 119 locations where the bombs have been used in the last six months in Syria's civil war.

The rights group said cluster bomb attacks in the last two weeks have killed 11 civilians, including five children and two women.

In another development, European Union governments delayed making a decision Friday on a push by Britain and France to arm Syrian rebels against government troops, as the civil war in Syria marked its second anniversary.

France has said it is ready to work with Britain to help arm Syrian rebels, even if there is no agreement with other nations to send the weapons.

EU leaders will revisit the issue next week at a meeting in Dublin.

The embargo currently bars member countries from providing weapons to the Syrian opposition. That embargo ends in May.

Demonstrations were held Friday in protest centers across Syria to mark the second anniversary of the conflict which has claimed the lives of 70,000 people. Anti-government protesters first took to the streets in Syria to demand democratic change on March 15, 2011, during the early days of the region-wide upheaval known as the Arab Spring.