News / Middle East

Activist Report Slams Cluster Bomb Use in Syria

Cluster bombs, which activists say were dropped by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet, are displayed at Sowran near Aleppo in this October 30, 2012, file photo.Cluster bombs, which activists say were dropped by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet, are displayed at Sowran near Aleppo in this October 30, 2012, file photo.
x
Cluster bombs, which activists say were dropped by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet, are displayed at Sowran near Aleppo in this October 30, 2012, file photo.
Cluster bombs, which activists say were dropped by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet, are displayed at Sowran near Aleppo in this October 30, 2012, file photo.
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Schlein
— Activists campaigning against cluster munitions are condemning Syria’s alleged use of this banned weapon. At the same time, the newly released Cluster Munition Monitor 2013 report finds that, in general, great progress is being made in the implementation of the 2008 Convention, which calls for the ban and elimination of these weapons.

The report says governments are making progress to eliminate cluster bombs.  The authors say the rate at which states are destroying millions of stockpiled cluster munitions is making a real difference in saving lives.
 
According to Mary Wareham, editor of the Cluster Munition Monitor, cluster munitions have been used by at least 20 governments in at least 36 countries since the end of World War II.
 
But since the Convention banning cluster munitions came into force in 2010, Wareham said there are no reports of these weapons being used by participants in the convention agreement.
 
“We have, however, documented extensive use in Syria by the Syrian government pretty much starting mid-2012, increasing as the air campaign intensified in October 2012, continuing into 2013.  And we believe cluster munitions are still being used ...  Human Rights Watch has documented a lot of that use ...  We have identified 152 locations across Syria where at least 204 separate cluster munitions have been used,” said Wareham. 
 
The Syrian government said it does not use cluster bombs against rebels or civilians.  But human rights groups said they have accumulated an array of evidence proving otherwise.
 
Case in point

Screen capture from video shot by VOA earlier this year showed remains of bombs with Russian markings that appear to bolster the activists' claims the Syrian government used cluster bombs in northern Syria.
 
Residents of Azaz told VOA that Syrian government forces dropped nine large cluster bombs, what arms experts said is a particularly deadly weapon, on a neighborhood near the outskirts of town.
 
Most of the use has been in the north of the country, Wareham said, but almost every region has been affected by cluster bombs. She said the Syrian government denies using cluster weapons or even of possessing them. 
 
Besides Syria, the report said a few other countries that are not party to the treaty reportedly have used cluster munitions.
 
It said Burmese government forces may have used a weapon prohibited by the Convention in Kachin State in late 2012 and early 2013, adding that there are unconfirmed reports of cluster munition use by Sudan in 2012 and 2013.  It said Libya and Thailand used the weapons in 2011.
 
Wareham said most nations that are part of the treaty are destroying their stockpiles.
 
“To date, we have recorded over one million cluster munitions and 122 million sub-munitions destroyed by 22 states parties.  That is in total to date.  It represents more than half of the cluster munitions that States parties have declared,” she said. 
 
According to the report, more than 59,000 unexploded submunitions were destroyed during clearance projects across 11 nations in 2012.  These include heavily contaminated states such as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Lebanon.
 
Last year, 190 cluster munition casualties were reported with at least 165 of them in Syria.
Loading...

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid