HRW: Syrian using new cluster munition rocket

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Syrian government forces are using a powerful type of cluster munition rocket not seen before in the conflict, Human Rights Watch said today. The new use of cluster munitions is causing civilian casualties and adding to the country’s already devastating legacy of unexploded ordnance, adds the international organization.

Evidence indicates that government forces used the rockets containing explosive submunitions in attacks on Keferzita, a town north of Hama in northern Syria, on February 12 and 13, 2014. The rocket is the largest type of cluster munition rocket to be used in Syria and contains submunitions that are more powerful and deadly than other types of submunitions.

“It is appalling that Syrian government forces are still using banned cluster munitions on their people,” said Steve Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch. “Cluster bombs are killing Syrian civilians now and threatening Syrians for generations to come.”

Syrian government rocket attacks on Keferzita on February 12 and 13 killed at least two civilians and wounded at least 10 others, according to a local activist from Hama who is not affiliated with rebel groups and a doctor who spoke to Human Rights Watch.

Photographs of rocket remnants provided to Human Rights Watch by local activists who said they took them after the attack show sections of a 9M55K 300mm surface-to-surface rocket – including parts of the rocket motor, its cargo section, nose cone, and the associated connectors. Also pictured is an unexploded cylindrical 9N235 antipersonnel fragmentation submunition, the type delivered by the 9M55K rocket, with markings indicating the submunition was manufactured in 1991.


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