Syria Laying Landmines Along Border: Human Rights Watch
Syria is laying landmines near its borders with Lebanon and Turkey, along routes used by refugees to escape the violence, Human Rights Watch reports.
The New-York based group said it had multiple accounts from witnesses and deminers, amid reported casualties.
UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan is to meet the Syrian opposition in Turkey on the latest leg of his peace mission.
The UN says more than 8,000 people have now died since anti-government protests erupted in Syria a year ago.
Many of them women and children.
Human Rights Watch called on Syria to immediately cease laying landmines, calling them a “military ineffective” weapon that mostly kill and injure civilians for years to come.
The group said it had been told by a 28-year-old former Syrian Army deminer that he and a group of friends removed around 300 mines from the Hasanieih area in early March, along routes used by refugees to reach Turkey.
A 15-year-old boy described losing a leg to a landmine after trying to help a friend of a family, wounded in the government assault on the Baba Amr district of Homs, to cross the border into Lebanon.
“I was less than 50-60m away from crossing the border when the landmine exploded,” he said, adding that the friend died.
“Any use of anti-personnel landmines is unconscionable,” Steve Goose, Arms Division director at HRW, said. “There is absolutely no justification for the use of these indiscriminate weapons by any country, anywhere, for any purpose.”
Damascus has not publicly commented on the claims.