Syrian government troops and Russia’s Air Forces used cluster bombs at least 20 times in the ongoing military campaign in Syria, Human Rights Watch claimed in their report. “HRW collected detailed information about attacks in nine locations that have killed at least 35 civilians, including five women and 17 children, and injured dozens. Two attacks hit camps for the displaced, another one hit two operational schools in Douma, a suburb of Damascus, which killed at least eight children”, reads the report.
Human Rights Watch was able to trace that the cluster bombs used in Syria were made in the USSR and Russia. Thanks to thorough analysis of photo and video materials and interviews with the locals, experts defined 7 types of cluster ammunition used during the air strike in provinces of Aleppo, Hama and Idlib. HRW experts say only Syrian army or Russian air force units could be behind these attacks, since the armed opposition groups do not use the aircraft.
All recent strikes with the use of cluster bombs were landed onto the opposition-controlled areas, HRW says, adding there is no chance to determine whether responsibility lies on the Syrian army or Russian Air Force pilots, because they often perform joint operations and use weapons of the same kind.
The report also says some kinds of cluster ammunition were spotted in Syria only after the Russian military operation began. ”The appearance of cluster munitions produced more recently than the ones used before the Russian air campaign began – including two that have not been documented in use in Syria before – combined with recent extensive cluster munition use, suggest that either Russian aircraft dropped them or Russian authorities recently provided the Syrian government with more cluster munitions, or both”, Human Rights Watch said.
Since September 30, Russian military aircraft have been launching surgical air strikes at ISIL positions in Syria, at the request of Syrian leader Bashaar al-Assad.