US-led coalition using banned arms in Syria, Iraq: HRW

Human Rights Watch accuses anti-Daesh coalition of deploying white phosphorus in populated areas

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday accused a U.S.-led coalition tasked with fighting the Daesh terrorist group with using white phosphorus in populated areas of Syria and Iraq.

“The use of artillery-delivered white phosphorus by the U.S.-led coalition… in Syria and Iraq raises serious questions about the protection of civilians,” the U.S.- based rights watchdog said in a Wednesday report.

“This multipurpose munition should never be used as an incendiary weapon to attack personnel or materiel in populated areas, even when delivered from the ground,” the report reads.

It goes on to assert that U.S. forces “are using white phosphorus in both Mosul in Iraq and in the ISIS [i.e., Daesh] stronghold of Raqqa in Syria”.

“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,” the report quotes Stephen Goose, director of HRW’s Arms Division, as saying.

Earlier this month, Iraqi security forces admitted to using white phosphorus to create a “smokescreen” to allow civilians to flee conflict zones.

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