Russia increases use of cluster bombs in Syria: report

Geneva, SwitzerlandUpdated: Sep 02, 2016, 09:20 AM IST
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A still image, taken from video footage and released by Russia's Defence Ministry on August 18, 2016, shows a Russian Sukhoi Su-34 fighter-bomber based at Iran's Hamadan air base dropping off bombs in the Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor. Photograph:(Reuters)
There is an evident increase in Russian forces using cluster bombs in Syria, claimed a study undertaken by a coalition of NGOs led by the Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Russian forces have been carrying out air-strikes in the war-torn area, to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The report also added that more than 400 people were either killed or maimed using banned weapons across the world in the last year.

"Since Russia began its joint operation with Syrian forces last September, we have seen an increase in the number of cluster munition attacks on opposition-held areas," Mary Wareham, HRW's arms advocacy director and editor of the report, said in a press conference.

Russia, however, has consistently denied using cluster bombs which spray bomblets.

HRW also said that it was sometimes difficult to determine whether it was Russian or Syrian forces using the bombs.

A total of 248 people were killed or injured by the ammunition in Syria last year, almost all civilians, the Cluster Munition Monitor report stated.

(WION with inputs from agencies)