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Handicap International condemns new use of submunitions in Syria

Emergency Explosive weapons
Syria

Russian-made cluster munitions, including models used for the first time in this conflict, were deployed in the region of Aleppo in early October, according to reports by the NGO Human Rights Watch , although it has not been determined if they were used by Russian or Syria troops.

Destruction in the city of Kobani, Syria.

Destruction in the city of Kobani, Syria. | © Ph. Houliat / Handicap International

“It’s important to stress that the Oslo Convention, which has been ratified by 98 States and signed by 20 others, bans the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of cluster munitions,” says Anne Héry, Handicap International’s advocacy director.  “The use of these barbaric weapons poses an unacceptable threat to the lives of Syria civilians, the main victims of this conflict.”

Between 2012 and 2014, at least 1,968 victims of cluster munitions were recorded in Syria, higher than any other global casualty total for a single country since well before the Convention on Cluster Munitions was adopted, according to the Cluster Munition Monitor 2015 report. The vast majority were civilians.

Sixteen States continue to produce submunitions or reserve the right to do so, according to the Cluster Munition Monitor 2015 report.

Civilians accounted for the vast majority of casualties, making up more than 90% of all global casualties whose status was recorded. These weapons kill, injure, maim and cause serious psychological trauma. Up to 40% of these weapons do not explode on impact; entire areas become uninhabitable when contaminated by explosive remnants of war (ERW), severely limiting social and economic activity, and displacing people from their homes. These explosive weapons pose a threat to civilians for decades after a conflict has ended.

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