BEIRUT — The Syrian regime is expanding its use of widely banned cluster bombs, an international human rights group said Saturday as the deadlocked conflict entered its third year. In new violence, rebels detonated a powerful car bomb outside a high-rise building in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, setting off clashes with regime troops, state TV and activists said. The blast came a day after Syrians marked the second anniversary of the start of their uprising against President Bashar Assad. The rebellion began with largely peaceful protests, but when the regime cracked down on demonstrators, the unrest evolved into an insurgency and then a civil war. In recent months, the Assad regime has escalated airstrikes and artillery attacks on rebel-held areas in the north and east of the country, rights groups have said. On Saturday, the New York-based Human Rights Watch said Syrian forces have dropped at least 156 cluster bombs in 119 locations across the country in the past six months, causing mounting civilian casualties. The regime denied that it is using cluster bombs, but the report said that two strikes in the past two weeks killed 11 civilians, including two women and five children. Cluster bombs open… Read full this story
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