More than 1,400 Syrians, including 513 children, killed by Russian and regime cluster bombs

More than 1,400 Syrians, including 513 children, killed by Russian and regime cluster bombs
The Syrian regime and Russia have deployed banned cluster bombs in their attacks on opposition areas.
2 min read
31 January, 2023
Thousands of cluster bombs have been dropped in Syrian towns and villages [Getty]

Russian and Syrian regime use of banned cluster bombs has killed more than 1,400 Syrians, the vast majority civilians, according to a leading Syrian monitor.

The 43-page Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) report highlights the scale of Russian and regime indiscriminate bombing of opposition areas in Syria over the past 11 years, including the use of cluster bombs that have killed hundreds of children.

When activated, these devices release between 10 to 40 bomblets which do not explode on impact but stay dormant until contact, often with unbeknownst civilians resulting in death or life-changing injuries.

The SNHR recorded 1,435 Syrian citizens, including 518 children, killed by these devices between 2011 and 2023 with a further 4,410 civilians injured, often maimed.

"Every cluster munitions attack means that dozens or maybe hundreds of remnants, as high a proportion as 40 percent of the original quantity of submunitions deployed, did not explode, leaving them as lethal miniature landmines that can claim the lives of the residents of the area targeted," said Fadel Abdul Ghany, executive director of SNHR.

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"One of the reasons that compelled us to release this comprehensive report is the fact we have been regularly documenting new deaths and injuries from cluster munitions remnants." 

The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, signed by 108 countries but not Syria, prohibits the use of the bombs due to the danger of the weapons to civilians.

The weapons are designed to be used in a military setting, such against armour on airfields, but Russia and the Syrian regime have deployed them extensively in civilian areas.

Around 42 percent of the cluster bombs dropped in the Syrian war were in 2016, shortly after Russia entered the war aiding the Syrian regime in its fight against the opposition.

Both air forces have indiscriminately bombed opposition towns and villages, with cluster bombs, chemical weapons, and barrel bombs all used with devastating effects.

At least 500,000 have been killed in the Syria war since 2011, the vast majority believed to be civilians from regime bombing and artillery.