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.
    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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora