(MOSCOW) — Officials are denying that Russia has provided the Syrian government with cluster munitions. Over the weekend, Human Rights Watch issued a report showing evidence that the Syrian military is dropping Soviet-made versions of the bombs near several towns. The group pointed to videos posted online by Syrian activists that appear to show remnants of the bombs.
In response, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the report doesn’t prove where they weapons came from, saying it would be very difficult to prove how they got there. Human Rights Watch admits that much, saying it can’t confirm how or when the Syrians obtained the weapons.
Cluster munitions are banned in most countries, but Russia and the United States are among only a handful of countries that have refused to do so. The weapons are especially deadly when used in civilian areas. They work when the larger bomb spreads out tiny bomblets that carpet an area and can do a lot of damage. The problem however, is that some of the bomblets don’t explode immediately and pose a danger to civilians even years later. Even worse, children sometimes mistake the shiny objects for toys and are killed or severely injured when they try to pick them up.
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