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Human Rights Watch slams US-led coalition over white phosphorus

Rights group highlights instances of such munitions being used in Raqqa and Mosul campaigns

Poisoned skies
Image Credit: AP
White phosphorus being used by US forces in Iraq during their Fallujah offensive against civilians in November 2004. It is saidthe shells were not used to illuminate enemy fighters at night, as claimed by the US government, but against civilians.Some believe an abnormal increase in birth defects in Fallujah is linked to the intense use of munitions in the area.
Gulf News

Beirut: Human Rights Watch says the US-led coalition fighting Daesh in Syria and Iraq is endangering civilians by using artillery-delivered white phosphorus.

Steve Goose, the arms director for the New-York-based rights group, says in a statement on Wednesday that “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.

HRW, citing research and media reports, refers to several incidents in Raqqa and Mosul where artillery-fired white phosphorous was used but could not determine if there were casualties. The group says the rationale for the use of the weapon is unclear as the US-led coalition doesn’t comment on specific incidents.

White phosphorous is designed to illuminate battlefields at night, but can cause severe and lasting burns.