Sunday, October 14, 2012

Syria using Russian cluster bombs, says human rights group

Watchdog claims video evidence shows government forces dropped Soviet-era cluster bombs in bid to halt rebel advances
"Syrian government forces have used Russian-made cluster bombs on populated areas in their effort to push back rebel advances along the country's main north-south highway, according to Human Rights Watch [see post below].

The watchdog on Sunday pointed to videos put up on the internet showing bomblets from cluster munitions in Idlib, Homs, Aleppo and Latakia provinces and outside Damascus. It said interviews with witnesses backed up the video evidence and there were clear signs the weapons had been dropped from aircraft.
The allegations came as President Bashar al-Assad's government was struggling to stop opposition forces consolidating their hold on Idlib province, on the Turkish border. The rebels were reported to have surrounded an army garrison of several hundred men at Urum al-Sughra, between the contested city of Aleppo, the country's commercial and industrial centre, and the frontier.
"Rebels attacked an armoured column sent from Aleppo to rescue the 46th Regiment at Urum al-Sughra and stopped it in its tracks," Firas Fuleifel, an opposition activist told Reuters by phone from Idlib. He said a Syrian air force jet was shot down while trying to provide air support to the column.

Sunday's Human Rights Watch report said there were Soviet-era markings on the cluster bombs used over the past few days but it was unclear when they had been delivered to Syria. Russia continued to be Syria's main arms suppliers after the demise of the Soviet Union....."

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