The mounting use of incendiary weapons, which cause horrific wounds to civilians, should prompt countries to strengthen the law restricting them, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today at a diplomatic meeting about these and other weapons.

The 24-page report, “Time to Act against Incendiary Weapons,” documents civilian harm from incendiary weapons used in Syria since 2012, focusing on their increased use during the past year’s joint operations by Syrian government and Russian forces.

Incendiary weapons produce heat and fire through the chemical reaction of a flammable substance. They can be designed for marking and signaling or to burn materiel, penetrate plate metal, or produce smokescreens. Incendiary weapons cause excruciatingly painful burns that are difficult to treat, and start fires that destroy civilian objects and infrastructure.