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Rights Group Reports 18 Recent Incendiary Weapons Attacks in Syria

People inspect the damage at a site hit by a barrel bomb in the rebel held area of Old Aleppo, Syria, July 11, 2016.

Human Rights Watch has called on nations that will confer in Geneva this month on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons to condemn the use of air-dropped incendiary weapons in civilian areas in Syria.

The New York group said Tuesday that the joint Syrian-Russian military operation had used incendiary weapons at least 18 times in the past nine weeks, injuring at least 12 civilians.

The rights group said it had reviewed photos and video taken at the time of the attacks between June 5 and August 10. Witnesses and first responders reported civilian injuries in five of those attacks.

HRW said local activists, human rights organizations, first responders and media organizations had reported the use of incendiary weapons at least 40 other times that could not be verified through photographs and video footage.

Incendiary weapons produce fire through chemical reactions, causing painful burns that are difficult to treat and starting fires that are difficult to extinguish, the rights group said.

It also said more than a dozen countries had condemned or expressed concern about the use of incendiary weapons in Syria since 2013.

The international treaty on conventional weapons includes a protocol condemning use of incendiary weapons. Russia is among the 113 parties to that protocol. Moscow has acknowledged past use of incendiary weapons in Syria, but has not commented on the most recent allegations of their use.

Syria has not joined the protocol despite international calls to do so.

The Geneva discussions about the convention will begin August 29.