Dr. Raffi Barsoumian is a general surgeon from New York. Following the 44-day war, he came to Armenia with a group of medical professionals to assist in the treatment of soldiers and civilian victims who were exposed to white phosphorus. Towards the end of the war, Azerbaijani forces fired white phosphorus munitions over Karabakh.
According to Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the use of air-dropped incendiary weapons against military objectives within a concentration of civilians is simply prohibited. Per Reuters, white phosphorus munitions can be used on battlefields to make smoke screens, generate illumination, mark targets or burn bunkers and buildings.
When a white phosphorus shell explodes, the chemical inside reacts with the air, creating a thick white cloud. When it comes in contact with flesh, it can maim and kill by burning to the bone.
CivilNet’s Ani Paitjan talks with Dr. Barsoumian about the short-term and long-term recovery process for those who were exposed to the munition.