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Russia says US using white phosphorous bombs in Syria

This undated photo shows US-led coalition's jet fighters carrying out airstrikes in Syria. (Photo by Getty Images)

Russia says US warplanes are using white phosphorous bombs in their airstrikes against civilian-populated areas east of the Euphrates River in Syria, leaving civilian casualties.

"The Americans have resumed intensive airstrikes against terrorist-controlled settlements along the eastern bank of Euphrates,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday.

According to local residents, US-led coalition jet fighters are using “white phosphorus munitions" in their airstrikes, Zakharova said, speaking at a press briefing in Moscow.

White phosphorus munitions are banned under the 1977 First Additional Protocol to the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

The Russian spokeswoman’s comments came after Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that the US-led coalition has carried out fresh aerial attacks against residential areas in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr, using internationally-banned cluster bombs.

Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told SANA that US-led military aircraft struck the town of Hajin in the Abu Kamal district of the province on Wednesday. They also launched a cluster bomb raid on al-Shaafah town in the same district.

There were no immediate reports about possible casualties and the extent of damage.

US official Sean Ryan earlier told Sputnik that the Syrian media reports on the use of cluster munitions in eastern Syria were "false," and that the operations "conform to the Laws of Armed Conflict."

Cluster bombs are banned under the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), an international treaty that addresses the humanitarian consequences and unacceptable harm caused to civilians by cluster munitions through a categorical prohibition and a framework for action.

On Tuesday, the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates condemned the recent airstrike by the US against the eastern town of al-Shaafah, which left more than 60 people killed and injured.

It said the massacre clearly points to the fact that members of the US military alliance have no respect for moral values, international rules and regulations as well as the lives of innocent civilians.

The US began a campaign of airstrikes in Syria in 2014, following up with ground-based operations in eastern and southern Syria.

The Syrian government has condemned the airstrikes, stressing that they have not been authorized by the Syrian government or the UN Security Council.

Damascus has also accused Washington of waging a phony war on terrorists, pointing to numerous reports of the US providing assistance to suspected terrorist targets or interfering with Syrian military efforts to destroy Daesh and other terrorist elements operating on Syrian soil.

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