Casualties From Banned Cluster Bombs Nearly Doubled in 2019, Mostly in Syria


Casualties from unexploded remnants of cluster munitions were reported last year in Afghanistan, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Serbia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, as well as the disputed regions of Nagorno-Karabakh and Western Sahara, the group said.

From 2010 to 2019, the group said, at least 4,315 cluster munition casualties were reported in 20 countries and other areas, but that more than 80 percent were in Syria. At least 686 cluster munition attacks have been reported in Syria since July 2012, the group said, making it “the only country to have experienced continuous use of the weapons” during that time.

Many countries, including major arms producers like the United States, China, Russia, Ukraine and Israel, have not signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits all use, stockpiling, production and transfer of the weapons.


Nonetheless, disarmament advocates say, the treaty’s increased acceptance has helped stigmatize these weapons, placing international shaming pressure on the holdouts that insist on retaining them in their arsenals or selling them elsewhere.

Launched from the ground or dropped from the air, cluster munitions are a type of weapon that distributes smaller explosive weapons, called submunitions or bomblets, designed to detonate over an area the size of a football field. They kill or maim with no distinction made between civilian noncombatants and fighters.

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