Cluster bomb attacks "seen almost daily" in Syria

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A large percentage of cluster munitions do not explode on impact, leaving a deadly legacy that almost exclusively affects civilians. Photo: Ole Solvang/Human Rights Watch

Almost daily attacks using cluster bombs are taking place in Syria, and to a lesser extent in Yemen, experts said Thursday.

The warning, from the Cluster Munition Monitor 2016, comes despite growing international support of a ban on the weapons altogether.

Daniel Johnson has more.

Cluster bombs are weapons that can often contain hundreds of explosive devices.

Released in mid-air, these sub-munitions can saturate an area covering several football grounds.

And while they're often lethal on impact, a large percentage do not explode until someone touches them.

That's left a deadly legacy, with 25 countries and areas affected by cluster munition remnants from previous conflicts.

The information comes from the Cluster Munition Monitor, whose latest report raises the alarm on Syria.

It's where the vast majority of the more than 400 recorded cluster bomb casualties happened last year. Almost all were civilians.

According to the monitor's Jeff Abramson, cluster bombs have been used in Syria since 2012:

"We continue to be alarmed by new use of cluster munitions, which seems to be happening potentially nearly daily in Syria . We have tracked casualties in Syria; last year again we found almost 200 casualties occurred from cluster munitions, we expect there are many more than that, it's very difficult to assess what's happening on the ground."

In Yemen, cluster bombs killed or maimed more than 100 people in 2015, although the weapons have not been used since February, according to the monitor.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1’09″

 

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