No less than 232 Cluster Attacks by Government Forces since it was First Used
SNHR has published the report: “25 Civilians Killed as Government Forces Bomb Al Mayadeen City with Cluster Munition” which documents the targeting of the garage in Al Mayadeen city in the suburbs of Deir Ez-Zour using missiles loaded with cluster submunition by government forces on Thursday 15 September 2016.
The report notes that the Syrian regime is the worst in the world in terms of the use of cluster munition in the past years where SNHR recorded no less than 232 attacks from the first time it was used by government forces in July 2012 until 15 December 2016. Furthermore, the report says that 2016 saw a noticeable drop in the rates of the use of cluster munition by the Syrian regime. In contrast, Russian forces elevated their use of cluster munition as we have documented no less than 147 attacks using cluster munition by Russian forces alone since they intervened in Syria on 30 September 2016.
The report relies on accounts by a number of residents, eyewitnesses, and survivors where the report includes one account. Also, included in the report pictures showing ShOAB-0.5 cluster remnants.
According to the report, the targeted areas were civil areas where there were no military centers or weapon warehouses for extremist Islamic groups before or during the attack.
The report says that fixed-wing government forces warplanes fired a number of RBK-500 missiles loaded with ShOAB-0.5 cluster submunition targeting the garage in Al Mayadeen city which resulted in the killing of 25 civilians including nine children and three women. In addition, about 30 others were injured. The garage is considered a vital area that contains passenger buses and stalls.
The report describes the use of cluster munition by government forces as a violation of both the distinction and proportionality principles of the international humanitarian law. The incident addressed in this report amount to a war crime especially that evidences show that cluster munition were used against civil targets rather than specific military objects.
In addition, the report stresses that despite the fact that more than 140 states around the world have condemned the use of cluster munition by the Syrian regime through the United Nations General Assembly, the regime seems to insist on using that weapon which shows an utter disregard and carelessness despite the unanimous condemnation.
The report calls on the Security Council to adopt a binding Resolution to destroy all cluster munition in Syria as was the case with chemical weapons, and to take additional steps as it has been more than two years since Resolution 2139 was adopted. Additionally, the report calls on the Security Council to refer the Syrian case to the International Criminal Court and all those who are responsible must be held accountable including the Russian regime whose involvement in perpetrating war crimes have been proven.
Moreover, the report calls on the Russian government to specifically cease supplying the Syrian government with weapons. On the other side, the State Friends of Syria must apply serious pressure on the various political and economic levels on the Russian government in order to achieve that.
The report emphasizes that the United Nations have to to start preparing extensive studies on the sites where government forces used cluster bombs in order to alarm the residents of these areas and accelerate the process of neutralizing the bombs that haven’t exploded. Also, the report calls on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit a report to the Human Rights Council and other organs of the United Nations on this massacre specifically and the massacres that preceded.
The report stresses that the Syrian case must be referred to the International Criminal Court and all those who were involved must be held accountable. Also, the norm of the Responsibility to Protect must be implemented in order to save the Syrians’ lives, culture, and arts from being destroyed, looted, and ruined. Finally, the sanctions must be expanded to include all the pillars of the Syrian and Iranian regimes who are directly involved in perpetrating crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Syrian people.