13 Mar 2012

Syria accused of laying mines on borders

10:13 pm on 13 March 2012

Human Rights Watch says Syria is laying landmines near its borders with Lebanon and Turkey, along routes used by refugees to escape the violence.

The New-York based group says it has multiple accounts from witnesses and deminers, amid reported casualties, the BBC reports.

Human Rights Watch called on Syria to immediately cease laying landmines, calling them "military ineffective" weapons that will mostly kill and injure civilians for years to come.

It says it had been told by a 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, wounded in the government assault on the Baba Amr district of Homs, to cross the border into Lebanon.

He says he was less than 50 or 60 metres away from crossing the border when it exploded. The friend died.