POLITICS


Foreign military attaches visit area where Armenia-fired white phosphorus bomb fell

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Tartar, 11 May, AZERTAC

Military attaches of foreign countries accredited in Azerbaijan have today visited the frontline to view the area in Askipara village in Tartar where the Armenians-fired white phosphorus bomb, the use of which was banned by international conventions, fell.

Organized by Azerbaijan`s ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense, the visit involved more than 20 representatives of military attaches of 13 countries, as well as field assistants of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Manager at Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) Madat Mammadov said that an unexploded white phosphorous bomb was found in the village of Askipara, Tartar, on May 10. “This was a 122mm mortar bomb, the use of which was prohibited by international conventions. It contains 3.08kg of white phosphorous. Weighing 27.07kg, the bomb was found at the depth of 2.3m. Due to the soft ground the bomb did not explode, and phosphorus leaked into the soil to the depth of 2m.”

He said that the 1980 Protocol III on Incendiary Weapons of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons restricted the use of incendiary weapons as a means or method of warfare during armed conflict. “Despite this, Armenia uses this munitions even against civilian population,” he added.

Head of Tartar District Executive Authority Mustaqim Mammadov drew the military attaches` attention to the fact that “17 residential areas located close to the line of contact were shelled by the Armenian armed forces in April alone. Some 256 houses were damaged and 32 were destroyed in the shelling. Seven civilians were wounded, two IDPs were killed,” he said.

ANAMA inspected 286 points, where the agency`s specialists found 60 unexploded ordnances. “The use of banned munitions proves that Armenia targets civilian population.”

Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hikmat Hajiyev told journalists that Armenia grossly violated all its commitments and obligations under international law, particularly international humanitarian law, as they continue to shell civilian population from heavy artillery. “Armenia`s using the banned white phosphorous bomb is not a means or method of warfare. Their only goal is to commit terror, provocation and kill civilians,” he said.

“During this visit of the military attaches the fact of Armenians` using the prohibited white phosphorous bomb against civilians will be documented, and presented to international organizations, including the OSCE, and United Nations,” Mr Hajiyev added.

White phosphorus (WP, chemical formula: P4) is a chemical substance that is white to yellow translucent, wax-like and has a pungent, garlic-like, acrid odor. White phosphorus ignites spontaneously upon exposure to air (it is pyrophoric) at a temperature of around 30-34 degrees Celsius (or lower) by reaction with oxygen. Regardless of intended purpose, weapons containing WP can have severe negative impacts on human health.

WP causes severe, partial to full-thickness thermal and chemical burns upon contact with skin, often down to the bone. Usually the phosphorus is scattered in small adhesive lumps, which result in a great number of fairly small but deep burns. If the burning phosphorus particles remain unextinguished, muscles and other deep tissues may be damaged, resulting in permanent loss of motor function.

WP is extremely toxic when inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through burned areas. WP is also highly soluble in fat, and thus in human flesh. Absorbed through the skin WP can survive long enough in the human body to damage the heart, kidney or liver, leading to multiple organ failure or death. There is no antidote for white phosphorus toxicity. Burns from WP are slow to heal and likely to develop infections.

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