The International Campaign to Ban Landmines – Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC) released its twelfth annual report on monitoring the use of cluster weapons worldwide. The CMC is a global civil society campaign working to eradicate cluster munitions, prevent further casualties and put an end to the suffering caused by these weapons.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) as a member of ICBL-CMC has contributed to this report and to previous years’ reports by sharing data on incidents caused by cluster munitions and the resulting deaths and injuries in Syria.
The report concludes that Syria is the only country in the world to have experienced continued use of these weapons since 2012, with the highest number of casualties documented to date in Syria in 2020, with the record for this year (2020) in Syria representing more than half (52%) of all such casualties worldwide. The report also indicates that 44% of all these casualties were children and 24% were female. In addition, the report indicates that 80% of cluster munitions casualties globally since 2012 were documented in Syria.
The report documents the deaths of 35 civilians as a result of cluster munition airstrikes in Syria, as well as recording several attacks on schools and hospitals in 2020, citing the SNHR’s report, “The Syrian Regime Repeatedly Uses Cluster Munitions Against Residential Neighborhoods in and Around Idlib Governorate, Constituting War Crimes” issued on February 27, 2020.
The report also notes that 147 casualties resulting from cluster munition remnants were recorded in 2020, which indicates the seriousness of the spread of cluster munition remnants and the repercussions of their use.
The report notes that Syrian regime forces have used cluster munitions since 2012, causing immense human suffering, and indicates that civilians have suffered directly, both from attacks and from explosive remnants left behind. The report notes that at least 687 cluster munition attacks in Syria have been recorded since July 2012.
The report further notes that the Syrian regime is the main party responsible for using cluster munitions, adding that Russian and Syrian regime forces use many of the same aircraft and weapons and frequently carry out operations together.
The report further suggests that the record of the use of cluster munitions is higher than the recorded numbers, as there are many attacks that have not been recorded.
The incalculable harm to civilians caused by the use of cluster munitions in Syria has attracted widespread media coverage, public outcry, and condemnation from more than 145 countries. The report also notes that since May 2013, the UN General Assembly has adopted eight resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, including Resolution 75/193 on December 16, 2020; since 2014, states have adopted more than 18 Human Rights Council resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, while the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria has issued numerous reports detailing cluster munition attacks.