Syria expands use of banned cluster munitions, says rights group
The Syrian regime is expanding its use of internationally banned cluster munitions targeting residential areas, said Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Saturday, as the country's grinding conflict entered its third year, dpa reported.
The New York-based group has identified at least 119 locations across Syria where 156 cluster bomb attacks have been carried out in the past six months.
"Syria is expanding its relentless use of cluster munitions, a banned weapon, and civilians are paying the price with their lives and limbs," said Steve Goose, HRW director of the arms division.
The watchdog said it had investigated two cluster bomb assaults in Syria in the past two weeks - in Deir Jamal near the northern city of Aleppo and Talbiseh near Homs in the centre - that have killed 11 civilians, including five children, and wounded a further 27.
"All nations that have joined the treaty banning cluster bombs have a legal obligation to speak out and condemn Syria's ever-expanding use of these indiscriminate weapons, yet too few are doing so," said Goose.
Syria's pro-democracy uprising began with peaceful protests in mid-March 2011 but developed into an armed conflict that has now claimed more than 70,000 lives, according to the United Nations.