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Human Rights Watch: Russia used cluster munitions in its invasion of Ukraine after using it in Idlib

Human Rights Watch revealed in a report that the cluster munitions used by Russian forces in bombing Ukrainian cities are similar to those used in bombing residential areas in Idlib, northern Syria.

On Monday, the organization said: “The Russian forces bombed the vicinity of a hospital in the Donetsk region with a ballistic missile, killing four civilians and wounding 10 others.”

It added that 9M79-series Tochka ballistic missile with a 9N123 cluster munition warhead found in both Donetsk and Idlib

“This callous attack has killed and injured civilians, and damaged a hospital,” said Steve Goose, HRW’s arms director. “Russian forces should stop using cluster munitions and end unlawful attacks with weapons that indiscriminately kill and maim.”

The organization explained that Cluster munitions are known for their indiscriminate damage and high fatality rates in civilian areas. The type used in Ukraine and Syria explode mid-air, spreading dozens of small bomblets over an area the size of a football pitch, according to HRW. In case of explosion failure, hundreds of bomblets end up in the ground, acting like a minefield.

Human Rights Watch had documented using the same type of cluster munition in an attack by Russian and Assad regime forces on Sarmin, Idlib governorate, in January 2020.

Last week, the director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, warned that Russia’s “war crimes strategy” in Syria could be repeated in Ukraine.

It is noteworthy that the Russian forces have tested more than 320 different types of weapons in Syria since their intervention in favor of the Assad regime in September 2015, according to what the Russian Defense Minister, Shoigu, revealed in July of last year.

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