Human Rights Watch: Russia, Syria used internationally banned incendiary weapons on civilians

Incendiary rounds syria russiaRT via YoutubeFootage showing what Human Rights Watch arms experts have identified as RBK-500 ZAB-2.5SM incendiary bombs mounted on a Russian attack aircraft at a Russian air base in Syria, June 18, 2016.

In a troubling report on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch accused Russian and Syrian war planes of dropping internationally banned incendiary weapons on civilian areas of Syria.

“The Syrian government and Russia should immediately stop attacking civilian areas with incendiary weapons,” Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch, said in the report.

“These weapons inflict horrible injuries and excruciating pain, so all countries should condemn their use in civilian areas.”

The report goes to lengths to establish the use of RBK-500 ZAB-2.5SM incendiary bombs, manufactured in the Soviet Union, as having been used 18 times over the last three months. Each instance cites video evidence, witness testimonies, and sometimes actual physical remnants of the bombs recovered.

In one case, Russian state TV actually ran footage of Su-34s taking off on a bombing run with the banned munitions in tow.

As Thomas Gibbons-Neff of the Washington Post notes, “Russia is party to a United Nations protocol that bans the use of airdropped incendiary munitions on areas with high concentrations of civilians. Syria, however, is not.”

In the past, the UN has voiced concerns about the use of banned incendiary and cluster munitions in Syria, but they have not been able to verify it.

Read the full report at Human Rights Watch here»

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