Russia blamed for civilian deaths in Syria: HRW accuses Moscow of using extensive ammunition

By @preciousvsilva on
Putin attending news conference in Moscow
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 17, 2015. Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

New York-based watchdog Human Rights Watch said that Russia and its allied Syrian government forces are using cluster munitions "extensively." Furthermore, Moscow is under fire as it was linked to scores of civilian deaths in the region.
 
According to HRW, Russia has been using cluster munitions extensively since late September. The organisation cited in its report that Moscow used the cluster munitions around 20 times since it started its campaign along with Syrian forces.
 
"The military offensive that the Russian and Syrian government forces opened against armed groups opposed to the government on Sept. 30, 2015, has included extensive use of cluster munitions – inherently indiscriminate and internationally banned weapons," claimed the organisation on its site.
 
The organisation further claimed that using such ware breaches the United Nations resolution 2139 of Feb. 22, 2014. According to the resolution, parties involved in Syria's situation should stop “indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas." This further goes against the statement of the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates dated Nov. 9, 2015. According to the ministry, Syrian Arab Armed Forces will not engage with indiscriminate weapons.
 
The country's promise seems empty considering the number of cluster munitions that affected scores of civilians in different parts of the country, according to Ole Solvang, deputy emergencies director.
 
In another report by The Washington Post, another human rights party also called out the number of civilians affected by Russia's intervention in Syria. Rami Abdurrahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, claimed that around nine airstrikes hit Idlib on Sunday morning, leaving 36 civilians and insurgents dead. Among those hit during the strikes were an intelligence building and courthouse.
 
“The courthouse was full of civilians,” said Abdurrahman. “The Russians have been hitting everything, killing civilians and striking whatever they want.”
 
Russia's attacks may intervene with diplomatic resolutions considering the complexity of the Syrian conflict already. To date, tensions and continued military operations in the area have cost 250,000 people and displaced millions. Several analysts also previously emphasised that extremist groups, like the Islamic State, have also been benefiting from the conflict.
 
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