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Syrian Opposition Requests UN Inquiry On Russian Cluster-Bomb Use

The main Syrian opposition group has asked the United Nations to investigate charges that Russia has repeatedly used cluster and incendiary bombs in Syria.

"Russian air forces have repeatedly deployed incendiary weapons and cluster munitions to kill, maim, and terrorize Syrian civilians, including in at least 10 documented incidents," Riad Hijab, coordinator of the High Negotiations Committee, said in a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on June 23.

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

Hijab charged 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.

Incendiary weapons use substances that are designed to set fire to objects or burn people, and cluster munitions are containers that explode in the air to distribute smaller bombs over a large area. Both are banned under the convention.

The Russian military has denied using cluster or incendiary bombs, but Russia's state-run RT network broadcast footage last week of Russian jets in Syria that appeared to be armed with such weapons.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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