Friday, 24 June 2016

Regime's Phosphorus Bombing Turns Night into Day in Aleppo Countryside

 'Russian warplanes have begun a campaign of heavy bombardment on the towns and villages of the northern Aleppo countryside, some points of the western countryside, and Castillo Road, using internationally banned munitions in dozens of air raids causing major material damage and sparking massive fires.

 Activists said that towns and villages in Aleppo’s northern countryside were subjected to more than 50 air raids with incendiary phosphorus, causing large fires to break out, turning night into day, while warplanes bombed the outskirts of the al-Malaah area, the city of Andan, and the villages of Kafar Hamra, Babees, Maarat al-Arteeq, Tel Maseebeen, and Heyyan.

 Russian warplanes meanwhile bombarded the Castillo Road, “Aleppo’s online lifeline,” with phosphorus bombs, while the route was hit by heavy artillery shelling, with about 50 artillery shells hitting it over a short time. In the western countryside, warplanes dropped phosphorus bombs on Jameet al-Hadi.

 The city of Aleppo and its countryside have witnessed an extreme and barbaric bombing campaign throughout recent months, with Russian warplanes and helicopters carrying out thousands of raids using all types of weapons, including vacuum and cluster bombs, leading to massacres and leading to hundreds of deaths and injuries among civilians. Vital facilities have been targeted, as well as civilian assemblies and medical facilities.'

 'Earlier this week analysts found that RT, a government-funded Russian media company, edited out footage that initially showed Russian jets in Syria armed with incendiary munitions. The original clip was restored after RT said it had deleted the footage out of concerns for the pilot’s safety.

 Recent clips posted to YouTube show a number of strikes in the suburbs of Aleppo, where Syrian government forces have fought for months in an attempt to take the city from opposition forces. The footage, taken mostly at night, shows streaks of what looks like fireworks blossoming downward and erupting into flames on the ground. According to Mary Wareham, the arms advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, the type of incendiary munitions seen most frequently in Syria appear to be thermite-based weapons, and are often misidentified as napalm and white phosphorus. Similar in purpose, napalm and white phosphorus have checkered pasts that began with their use by the United States during the Vietnam War.'

 'The Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) called on United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday to launch an investigation into its accusations that Russia has repeatedly used air-delivered incendiary weapons in Syria.

 "Russian air forces have repeatedly deployed incendiary weapons and cluster munitions to kill, main and terrorise Syrian civilians, including in at least 10 documented incidents," Riad Hijab, coordinator of the opposition HNC, wrote to Ban.

 "They have violated the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and breached international humanitarian law," he wrote.

 Hijab alleged that "thermite, which ignites while falling, has been likened to 'mini nuclear bombs' and was deployed repeatedly by Russian forces in residential areas." He also accused Russian forces of using cluster munitions.

 State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters in Washington that the United States was not in a position to confirm the allegations by the Syrian opposition, but that the claims were taken very seriously.

"Regardless of what weapons they're using, (the Russians) shouldn't be striking groups that are committed to the counter-ISIL fight or civilians," he added. "Russia and the Assad regime need to be more careful about distinguishing between terrorists, civilians and parties to the cessation of hostilities." '

Kenan Rahmani:

 'The U.S. continues to give incomprehensible legitimacy to the Russian offensives in Syria which clearly deliberately target civilians and civilian infrastructure. This is a quote today by John Kirby, Spokesperson for the Department of State saying that "Russia and the Assad regime need to be more careful."

 Russia and Assad are deliberately targeting civilians, not terrorists. Russia's use of cluster bombs and incendiary bombs is not an accident, but rather a coldly calculated move knowing that Obama will not ask them to stop.

It's time to stop misleading the American people about the intentions of Russia and Assad. It's one thing to oppose the kind of military enforcement needed to protect civilians. It's another to lie to our faces.'

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