Syrian officials have responded to yesterday’s claims of strong evidence of the use of cluster munitions by the military with a denial, insisting that they have not used cluster bombs in the ongoing civil war and that they don’t even have the sort of bomblets shown in the photographs.
The photos and video evidence showed Soviet-made cluster bomblets on the ground around Homs and Aleppo. Russian officials speculated that the bomblets may have actually been acquired by one of the rebel groups by way of another former Warsaw Pact nation, noting that Syria is “full of weapons” right now and that several nations are sending arms there.
It is unclear, however, where such weapons may have originated, and even Syria’s claim of not having such weapons is unclear since Syria is not a signatory of the cluster bomb ban, and nor are Russia or several other Warsaw Pact nations.
Cluster bomb use has been common in the region in recent years, with the US using such weapons in its invasion of neighboring Iraq and Israel littering southern Lebanon with bomblets in the last few days of their 2006 invasion. Such weapons don’t all explode on impact and many remain active for years and even decades, continuing to kill and maim civilians long after the war they were used in is over.
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