Saturday, July 30, 2016

Indefensible Inhumanity

"Since Russia and Syria have renewed their joint air operations, we have seen a relentless use of cluster munitions."
"The Russian government should immediately ensure that neither its forces nor Syria’s use this inherently indiscriminate weapon."
Ole Solvang, deputy emergencies director, Human Rights Watch

A bomb is released from a Russian Su-34 strike fighter in Syria. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP) 
"Several babies were injured when their incubators crashed to the floor, and a woman who was six months pregnant had her leg severed."
"Two other women have shrapnel wounds to the stomach and a number of patients and staff have suffered light injuries."
Save the Children report

"Bombing a maternity hospital which is helping women living under the shadow of war to give birth safely is a shameful act, whether it was done intentionally or because due care was not taken to avoid civilian areas." 
"There is no excuse, and unfortunately this is only the latest in a series of strikes on health facilities in Syria."
"Around 61 percent of the patients at the hospital are mothers, and 39 percent are children."
"This is the only hospital specialising in maternity and children in the northern western side of rural Idlib."
Sonia Khush, Syria director, Save the Children

Save The Children

Syrian and Russian warplanes appear to be doing their utmost to destroy whatever infrastructure and lives are left in Syria, at least in rebel-held areas of Idlib and Aleppo. The world has known and deplored the barrel bombs that the Syrian military has been using against the 'terrorists' who were once Syrian Sunni citizens but whom Bashir al-Assad has declared to be scum and terrorists whose lives are worthless, as his killing machine obliterates men, women and children.

He has had ample encouragement and assistance from Iran and Hezbollah, and of course, Vladimir Putin's Russian warplanes, dedicated to upholding law and order in Syria in defense of collegial relations, government-to-government. Russia has been repeatedly accused of targeting hospitals over a prolonged period of time. It is not only Save the Children who accuse Moscow of total disregard for human life, but Medicines sans Frontieres as well, whose own hospitals have been targeted.

Both Russian and Syrian airforces have resumed their bombing campaigns after yet another putative ceasefire has failed, with the extensive use of cluster munitions so efficient at killing and maiming humans. Human Rights Watch has documented no fewer than 47 separate cluster munitions attacks over the past several months, most of them taking place over Aleppo, aimed at dislodging Syrian opposition fighters from that part of the city they have contained.

Neither Russia nor Syria are party to the convention against cluster munitions, banned by 119 nations that all prohibit possession and use of the cruelly destructive devices. Both cluster bombs and barrel bombs work on the same principle; tightly packed with explosives and shrapnel, when they detonate their effects are devastatingly destructive. Thousands of civilian Syrians and opposition fighters have been killed and maimed through these explosive devices.

And nor is that the end of the story; Russian warplanes have been seen using incendiary bombs as well. In contrast, the United States which does not itself use the munitions in its ISIL campaign, supplies cluster munitions to its allies in the region. Saudi Arabia has used the U.S.-supplied cluster bombs in its bombing missions over Yemen. A demonstration of pure moral ambiguity.

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