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Pentagon confirms use of depleted uranium rounds in Syria

February 15, 2017, 2:55 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

The report runs contrary to earlier US claims that it had never used depleted uranium in its operation against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

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©  AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

WASHINGTON, February 15. /TASS/. The US Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed that it had used depleted uranium (DU) ammunition in Syria in strikes against the Islamic State radical group (outlawed in Russia).

"I can confirm the use of depleted uranium," US Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman Maj. Josh Jacques told TASS. "The combination of Armored Piercing Incendiary (DU) rounds mixed with High Explosive Incendiary rounds was used to ensure a higher probability of destruction of the truck fleet ISIS was using to transport its illicit oil."

The report runs contrary to earlier US claims that it had never used depleted uranium in its operation against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

The spokesman said that a total of 5,265 rounds of Armored Piercing Incendiary (DU) using the 5:1 combat mix ratio were used in two operations on November 16 and November 22, 2015.

On November 16, a total of 1,490 out of 1,790 rounds fired in total contained depleted uranium. On November 22, US warplanes fired 3,775 shells with depleted uranium out of 4,530 in total.

Each of the two operations involved four A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft. A total of 46 enemy vehicles were destroyed during the first operation, and 293 during the second.


Russia’s stance confirmed

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said last year that according to independent experts, the United States has used depleted uranium (DU) shells in Syria and Iraq at least twice.

She urged focus on the joint report by the Dutch non-governmental Peace Organization PAX and the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons concerning the use of outlawed weapons by the United States during its campaign in Iraq.

"It is a rather telling sign the ICBUW has exposed at least two instances of the United States using DU weapons in air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq," Zakharova said.

The report addresses the issue of the indiscriminate use of DU weapons during the US-British intervention in Iraq in 2003.

"The report’s authors have arrived at the conclusion that the US military violated its own rules for the use of such ammunition, because they fired it against non-armored targets, including enemy manpower, and within communities, thus posing risks to the civilian population," the spokeswoman said.

"Amid the anti-Syrian and anti-Russian propaganda campaign and in the context of successful operations by the Syrian armed forces with support from Russia’s aerospace group against terrorists and militants in Aleppo such facts of recent history are ignored by Western mass media," she added.

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