Human Rights group: Use of White Phosphorous in Syria and Iraq against legal framework

    Human Rights group: Use of White Phosphorous in Syria and Iraq against legal framework

    June 17, Damascus: Human Rights groups on Saturday stated that the use of white phosphorus by the US-led coalition in Mosul is “not within the international legal framework.

    According to a news report by RT on Saturday, the UN coordinator for rights group Salam for Democracy and Human Rights told RT, adding that Baghdad should launch an independent investigation."There's no area [in Mosul] with a large space... the houses are built against each other so it's really intense. So using such a weapon in this area is not within the international legal framework," Mohammed Serkal told RT.

    The deployment of white phosphorus munitions in Raqqa and Mosul amid mounting criticism because it is banned in hot and arid areas like the Mesoptamian region."It is banned… in areas like this... especially now with the heat in Iraq... with this it could burn easy and that could have consequences, not just now but on the future as well," he said.

    White phosphorus burns when it comes into contact with oxygen, producing high-temperature heat and characteristic white smoke.

    Serkal also said there "seems to be a blackout on Mosul" in the media, because "we don't have many NGOs in Mosul who can verify information, who can report on information on the airstrikes" on the city, and because the city is inaccessible.

    Meanwhile, Amnesty International in a statement issued earlier today stated that t:he use of white phosphorus munitions by the US-led coalition gravely endangers the lives of thousands of civilians trapped in and around al-Raqqa city, and may amount to a war crime under these circumstances. It can cause horrific injuries by burning through flesh and bone and can pose a threat even weeks after being deployed by reigniting and burning at extremely high temperatures,” said Samah Hadid, Middle East Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International,condemning the attack.

    He also pointed out that according to Amnesty International’s analysis, the white phosphorus munition artillery projectiles seen in the footage are most likely US-made 155mm M825A1’s.“Force protection must not take priority over protection of civilians. US-led coalition and SDF forces must refrain from using powerful explosive weapons and imprecise weapons in populated areas and take all possible measures to protect the civilian population,” said Hadid.

    Similarly,  according to Human Rights Watch, no matter how white phosphorus is used, it poses a high risk of horrific and long-lasting harm in crowded cities like Raqqa and Mosul and any other areas with concentrations of civilians," said Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch. 

    HRW, referred to several incidents in Raqqa and Mosul where artillery-fired white phosphorous was usmeaed. The group said the rationale for the use of the weapon is unclear as the U.S.-led coalition doesn't comment on specific incidents.

    The Oslo Times International News Network


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