On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report directly accusing Syria and Russia of using warplanes in civilian areas of Syria. The planes have been used to drop incendiary weapons on the area. An international ban on the use of incendiary weapons on civilians is part of Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions.
Steve Goose, arms director at HRW, said in the report:
“The Syrian government and Russia should immediately stop attacking civilian areas with incendiary weapons. These weapons inflict horrible injuries and excruciating pain, so all countries should condemn their use in civilian areas.”
The report also goes into great detail to lay the foundation for the use of the RBK-500 ZAB-2.5SM incendiary bombs constructed in Russia. The bombs have been used 18 times in the just in the last three months. Video evidence, witness testimonies, and at times, physical remnants of the bombs were recovered after each bombing. Lending credence to this is Russian state TV running footage of Russian military jets laden with incendiary bombs only to immediately censor the video soon after and attempt to remove the glaring evidence from the video clip. Thomas Gibbons-Neff of the Washington Post noted the following:
“Russia is party to a United Nations protocol that bans the use of air-dropped incendiary munitions on areas with high concentrations of civilians. Syria, however, is not.”
The United Nations, despite voicing strong concerns about using banned incendiary bombs in Syria, have yet to be able to prove they are in fact being used.