Russia accused over use of cluster bombs in Syria

Human Rights Watch said the cluster munitions were dropped on Kafr Halab on Oct. 4

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Human Rights Watch on Sunday accused Russia of being behind the use of new advanced cluster munitions in Syria, by dropping them from its warplanes or supplying them to the Damascus regime.

The New York-based group said that photographs it obtained showed that the cluster munitions were dropped on Kafr Halab, a village southwest of Syria’s second city of Aleppo, on Oct. 4, according to Agence France Presse.

“It’s disturbing that yet another type of cluster munition is being used in Syria given the harm they cause to civilians for years to come,” said Nadim Houry, HRW’s deputy Middle East director.

“Neither Russia nor Syria should use cluster munitions and both should join the international ban without delay.”

Cluster munitions contain dozens or hundreds of bomblets and are fired in rockets or dropped from the air.

HRW said it “cannot conclusively determine whether Russian or Syrian forces were responsible for the attack” on October 4.

It noted that neither country had banned their use.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Russia’s air force flew 64 sorties over Syria in the last 24 hours, destroying ISIS positions, training camps and ammunition dumps.

A total of 63 air strikes destroyed 53 fortified positions in Syria’s Hama, Lattakia, Idlib and Raqqa provinces, the defence ministry said.

Russian military officials also held a second video conference with counterparts from the United States to discuss safe flight operations over Syria, the ministry said, following earlier discussions on Saturday.

Russia launched an aerial bombing campaign against opponents of President Bashar al-Assad on September 30.

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