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Sunday, March 17, 2013

HRW reports mounting casualties from cluster bombs in Syria since Obama warned Assad on WMD

Seven months ago, on 20 August 2012 US President Barack Obama very publicly warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that the use of "a whole bunch of chemical weapons" would be a red-line that might cause him to change his calculus on Syria and intervene militarily. I wrote, at the time, Obama "green lights" Assad's slaughter in Syria.

After Obama issued his prohibition against the use of chemical weapons, Assad began using his other deadly weapons with a vengeance. Especially notable with regards to the carnage they have caused among women, children and other civilians has been his use of the unquided, but powerful, Scud ballistic missiles, and his use of cluster munitions, which are designed to mutilate people, on neighborhoods.

Human Rights Watch has just come out with a new report in which they document 156 attacks with cluster munitions in the past six months, in other words, since Obama told Assad that cluster bombs weren't a red-line for him:
Syria: Mounting Casualties from Cluster Munitions

More Than 150 Documented Attacks in 6 Months
March 16, 2013

New York) – Syrian forces’ use of cluster munitions in residential areas is causing mounting civilian casualties, Human Rights Watch said today. An initial review of available information has identified at least 119 locations across Syria where at least 156 cluster bombs have been used in the past six months.

Human Rights Watch has investigated two cluster bomb attacks in the past two weeks – in Deir Jamal, near Aleppo and Talbiseh, near Homs – that have killed 11 civilians, including 2 women and 5 children, and wounded 27 others.

“Syria is expanding its relentless use of cluster munitions, a banned weapon, and civilians are paying the price with their lives and limbs,” said Steve Goose, director of the Arms division at Human Rights Watch. “The initial toll is only the beginning because cluster munitions often leave unexploded bomblets that kill and maim long afterward.” More...
Earlier this month, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto─člu, reported that Assad had fired as many as 90 Scuds into residential areas since the beginning of 2013. The Hurriyet Daily News reported:
Syria fired up to 90 Scuds, says Turkish FM

The Syrian regime has fired up to 90 Scud-type ballistic missiles into residential areas in the last two months, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto─člu said in a recent television interview.

“The Syrian regime first used snipers, then artillery, tanks and then jets, helicopters. Now it is using Scud missiles. Al-Assad’s forces have fired 85-90 Scud missiles in the last two months,” the foreign minister said in an interview with private broadcaster NTV. “They press a button in Damascus and the missile lands in a residential area in Aleppo and kills civilians.” More...
Since Obama warned Assad not to use chemical weapons, 50,000 Syrians have been slaughtered by other means. The Assad regime is using ballistic missiles and cluster bombs against unarmed civilians as documented above. So what does Obama do? He puts Assad opposition group al-Nusra Front on his terrorist list and instructs the CIA to start planning military operations against these "terrorists" but not Assad.

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

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