The reports of cluster munition use come in addition to a growing use of air raids on areas that are thought to be opposition strongholds. These attacks are severely affecting the civilian population. Earlier this year, a report by Human Rights Watch stated that the Syrian air force has used cluster munitions in areas in northern Syria where unexploded submunitions have been found, among other areas. The Syrian opposition is now claiming that cluster munitions are also being used in urban areas on the outskirts of Damascus.
“We condemn the Syrian regime’s almost unbridled use of heavy weapons in air strikes and artillery attacks against densely populated areas in Syria,” Mr Eide said.
It is estimated that around 40 000 people have been killed since the conflict in Syria began. More than 400 000 people have fled the country and there are around 1.2 million internally displaced in Syria. Norway has provided NOK 200 million in humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people. This money is mainly being channelled through the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and NGOs.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions, which entered into force in 2010, prohibits all use of cluster munitions. So far, 111 states have joined the Convention. Syria is not one of them.
“Even though Syria has not signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the use of munitions of this kind is a violation of an international norm,” Mr Eide said.