HRW: Syrian regime using Egypt-made cluster bombs against opponents

Syrian regime forces are using Egypt-made cluster bombs in its campaign against protests and rebel forces seeking the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, US-based Human Rights Watch claimed on Sunday.

"Evidence indicates that Syrian forces used BM-21 Grad multi-barrel rocket launchers to deliver cluster munitions in attacks near the city of Idlib in December 2012 and in Latamneh, a town northwest of Hama, on January 3, 2013,” HRW said, noting that it was the first instance where the regime forces used ground-based cluster munitions.

"No information is available on how or when Syria acquired these cluster munitions, which were made in Egypt,” the report added.

Human Rights Watch, along with other rights groups, has reported on the use of air-to-land cluster bombs during the Syria conflict.

“Syria is escalating and expanding its use of cluster munitions, despite international condemnation of its embrace of this banned weapon,” said Steve Goose, director of the Arms division at Human Rights Watch. “It is now resorting to a notoriously indiscriminate type of cluster munition that gravely threatens civilian populations.”

Human Rights Watch demanded the Syrian government to immediately cease the use of cluster munitions. An international treaty by 111 states has imposed a comprehensive ban on the use of the devices.

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