Syrian forces accused of dropping cluster bombs on children
Activists report 10 youngsters killed in playground
Opposition activists say a Syrian government fighter jet has dropped cluster bombs on a village east of Damascus, killing 10 children.
Activists posted an amateur video online showing the aftermath of what they say was an air raid over Deir al-Asafir on Sunday.
The video shows the shell of a large bomb on the ground, alongside a row of several canisters that activists say contained smaller bombs.
Reuters reports that villagers collected 70 small unexploded bombs.
Residents say the children went outside after a lull in fighting on Sunday and were in a playground when the fighter jets struck.
The unverified video footage also showed mothers grieving over the bodies of their children.
Abu Kassem, an activist in the village, told Reuters another 15 people were wounded, including two women who were inside the courtyards of their houses.
Violence in Syria has escalated into what the Red Cross calls a civil war.
Activists say more than 37,000 people have died since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in March last year.
Journalist survives Syrian cluster bomb
Martin Chulov, the Middle East correspondent for the Guardian newspaper, said he survived a cluster bomb attack in Syria a couple of weeks ago.
"We could hear a jet nearby, 20 metres ahead of us, just front-left, on the highway. The road just lit up. It was an explosion that started in the centre [of the road] and spread out, savagely across for 10 to 15 metres," he told CBC News on Monday.
"We were very lucky to get away. It shattered the windscreen and damaged the car, but we kept on going until we could find a place to pull over," he said.
Cluster bombs are banned under a 2010 UN treaty, though Syria — like Israel, Russia and the U.S. — have not signed the pact.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said cluster munitions are a big problem for civilian populations because "large numbers of submunitions often fail to detonate as intended, contaminating large areas with deadly explosive ordnance."
Chulov said cluster bombs have been used consistently in Syria since about August, with "a significant uptick in their use in October."