Russia has been using cluster bombs in its latest airstrikes in Syria, according to multiple reports. Cluster bombs, the lethal multiple-projectile weapons, are banned by many countries.
Pictures taken after Russia’s airstrike in Aleppo that killed at least ten people showed a shrapnel from cluster bombs allegedly used during the attack by the Russians, according to the Daily Mail.
The pictures were taken in the rebel-held Merce neighborhood of Aleppo after Russia’s deadly airstrike that killed 10 and injured 15 people on Monday.
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Cluster bombs release a number of projectiles at a time and are capable of killing and injuring civilians after airstrikes and bombing raids because they have a tendency to not explode on impact.
This is not the first time the Russians have been accused of bombing civilians with cluster bombs in Syria despite the fact that just one day after Russia started bombing Syria on September 30, the Cluster Munition Coalition urged Russia to refrain from using any cluster munitions in its military operations.
In October, anti-Bashar al-Assad rebels released a video allegedly showing cluster bombs exploding over Syrian opposition in southern Idlib. In the video, there could be seen dozens of glowing bomblets fired into the air. The video then cuts to show hundreds of deadly explosions lighting up the landscape and tons of smoke.
When has Russia started using cluster bombs in Syria?
Moscow has repeatedly claimed it is using high-precision weapons against ISIS (aka Islamic State, Daesh, ISIL, IS) targets in Syria, but human rights groups and western governments have expressed their concerns that Russia could be using cluster bombs in civilian areas.
As many as 108 countries signed in 2008 the Convention on Cluster Munitions that bans the use, transfer and stockpile of cluster bombs. The treaty was opposed by a number of countries that use, produce or stockpile significant quantities of cluster munitions, including Russia, the United States, China, India, Israel, Pakistan and Brazil.
Following Russia’s airstrikes on the village of Kafr Halab, south-west Aleppo on October 4, Human Rights Watch (HRW) claimed it received “disturbing evidence” of Russia using an advanced type of Russian-made cluster bomb, according to the Daily Mail.
Showing a number of amateur videos purportedly showing cluster bomb explosions during Russia’s airstrikes on Aleppo, Hama and Idlib, HRW said the bombs were either fired by the Russians or were provided to the Syria Air Force to use against rebel groups in the war-torn country.
The human rights organization claims cluster munitions have been used in Syria since 2012. HRW says Assad forces began using air-dropped cluster bombs in the middle of 2012, and later resorted to cluster munition rockets.
Reports prove Russia’s use of cluster bombs
On November 29, Russia carried out a number of deadly airstrikes on a busy market in the Syrian province of Idlib that killed over 40 people and injured dozens more, according to Christian Today.
Moreover, some reports suggested that the Russians used cluster bombs during the airstrikes. The busy market was not the only place that the Russians targeted, according to activists who spoke to Aljazeera.
Syrian local news channel Ariha al-Youm reported that cluster bombs were used in Russia’s airstrikes in the busy market as well as several other areas of Idlib, according to Christian Today.
“The vendors were shouting loudly as people were buying and selling and suddenly we heard the sound of the planes and in less than a second the jets struck and there was deadly silence,’” said Mohamed Queissi, a rescue worker that operates in rebel-held areas, as reported by ABC.Net.
A second civil defense worker added that he had seen “people thrown in the street, strewn corpses and terrified children crying and shouting for their parents.”
Photos and videos of the destruction left after the Russian airstrikes showed survivors desperately trying to help one another, pulling the injured from burning wreckages, while dead bodies cover the streets.
The Syrian province of Idlib province is largely controlled by anti-government forces, including the Nusra Front, which has links to al-Qaeda. While Russia has repeatedly claimed it is targeting exclusively ISIS militants and other terrorists, the U.S. and its allies say that most of Russia’s deadly airstrikes have hit the areas where ISIS has little to no presence.
Putin: Russia could use nuclear weapons in Syria
A week ago, it was reported by ValueWalk that Russia could be considering using nuclear weapons in Syria, which has triggered fears over a potential global nuclear war in the West.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his meeting with Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that the new cruise missiles could be equipped with nuclear warheads, but that he hopes they would “never be needed.”
Putin’s statements come after Russia fired cruise missiles from its submarine at ISIS militants in Syria. Putin has praised the Russian cruise missiles fired against ISIS targets from the sea, and added that he hopes these weapons would never have to be armed with nuclear warheads.
“We must analyze everything happening on the battlefield, how the weapons operate,” the President said.
“The Kalibrs (sea based cruise missiles) and KH-101 (airborne cruise missile) have proved to be modern and highly effective, and now we know it for sure – precision weapons that can be equipped with both conventional and special warheads, which are nuclear,” Putin said.
“Naturally, this is not necessary when fighting terrorists and, I hope, will never be needed,” Putin added.
ValueWalk reported in early December that Russia is preparing for a nuclear war with NATO with its cutting-edge flying command center capable of maintaining full control over Russia’s armed forces in the event of nuclear war.
The airborne command center, which has already been named a ‘doomsday plane’ by the Pentagon, is capable of distributing tasks to all units of Russia’s armed forces: ground forces, Navy, aerospace forces as well as strategic missile forces.