19 February 2014
New and More Powerful Cluster Munitions Used in Latest Attack on Civilians in Syria
Syrian government forces are using new and more powerful cluster munitions not seen before in the conflict, adding to the civilian death toll and leaving a deadly legacy of unexploded ordnance according to a new report by Cluster Munition Coalition member, Human Rights Watch.
HRW reports that government forces used rockets containing explosive submunitions in attacks on Keferzita, in northern Syria, on February 12 and 13, 2014. These are the largest type of cluster munition rockets yet identified in Syria, more powerful and deadly than those previously used. An eyewitness who spoke to Human Rights Watch reported that at least two civilians were killed and least 10 others were wounded in the attacks last week.
"The Cluster Munition Coalition condemns in the strongest possible terms the ongoing and widespread use of these indiscriminate weapons against civilian populations in the Syrian conflict, including women and children," said CMC Director, Sarah Blakemore. "Governments worldwide must continue to speak out to stop this humanitarian disaster" said Blakemore.
To-date, a total of 149 countries have condemned use of cluster munitions in the context of ongoing use in Syria.Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) calls to action on Syria:
- The Syrian government forces should stop any further use of cluster munitions, an internationally banned weapon.
- Cluster munition stockpiles should be declared and destroyed in addition to chemical weapons.
- Cluster munition remnants must be cleared and destroyed as soon as it is safe to do so and international support given to enable clearance efforts.
- Through mine risk education, clear warnings must be given to communities about the terrible danger unexploded bomblets pose.
- The victims of cluster munitions and other explosive weapons must be supported, and needs addressed of civilian refugees displaced by use of these weapons.
- Governments worldwide should continue to condemn use of cluster munitions in Syria and call for Syria and all states to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
For more information on cluster munition use in Syria, including the international outrage and condemnations, visit the CMC Syria webpage.