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Syria

Last Updated: 16 August 2012

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

The Syrian Arab Republic has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

In a September 2011 statement to the convention’s Second Meeting of States Parties, Syria said, “We appreciate your efforts against cluster munitions and hope to join the convention once obstacles are removed,” citing the “occupation of Golan by Israel.”[1]

Syria did not participate in the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Syria attended the convention’s Second Meeting of States Parties in Beirut, Lebanon as an observer, its first ever participation in a meeting of the convention. Syria did not attend the intersessional meetings in April 2012.

Syria is not a party to the Mine Ban Treaty.

Syria is not a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Production, transfer, and stockpiling

Syria is not known to have produced cluster munitions.

Syria is known to stockpile cluster munitions. Jane’s Information Group lists Syria as possessing KMG-U dispensers, RBK-250, RBK-275, and RBK-500 cluster bombs.[2] It also possesses Grad 122mm rockets, which may include versions with submunition payloads.[3] It is not known if Syria was the source for Chinese Type-81 122mm cluster munition rockets fired by Hezbollah into northern Israel from southern Lebanon in July–August 2006.

Use

In July 2012, Syrian activists posted videos online showing cluster munition remnants and bomblets found in Jabal Shahshabu, a mountainous area near Hama that had been under sustained bombardment by Syrian forces over the two weeks prior.[4] Arms experts from Human Rights Watch and the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining said the videos showed the remnants of a Soviet-made RBK-250 series cluster bomb canister and at least unexploded 20 AO-1Sch submunitions.[5] The Cluster Munition Coalition expressed concern and urged the Syrian authorities to confirm or deny the use of cluster munitions.[6] As of 31 July 2012, the use of cluster munitions by the Syrian armed forces had not been confirmed.



[1] Statement of Syria, Second Meeting of States Parties, Convention on Cluster Munitions, Beirut, 15 September 2011, http://www.clusterconvention.org/files/2011/09/statement_syria.pdf.

[2] Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), p. 846.

[3] International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2005–2011 (London: Routledge, 2011), p. 331.

[4] Brown Moses Blog, “Evidence of cluster bombs being deployed in Syria,” 10 July 2012. http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.nz/2012/07/evidence-of-cluster-bombs-being.html.

[5] Human Rights Watch, “Syria: Evidence of Cluster Munitions Use by Syrian Forces,” Press release, 12 July 2012, New York, http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/07/12/syria-evidence-cluster-munitions-use-syrian-forces, accessed 18 July 2012.

[6] Cluster Munition Coalition press release, “CMC concerned over reports of cluster munition use in Syria,” 12 July 2012