Monday, December 16, 2013

Barrel Bombs in Syria

►This is dated August, 2012 -- last year. 
I'm learning about it for the first time now -- over a year later. 
How can we be so disengaged? 
Syrian regime deploys deadly new weapons on rebels
The Syrian regime has deployed a deadly new home-made weapon in addition to its large arsenal of Russian-supplied armaments – bombs packed inside large oil drums and dropped from helicopters.
The "barrel bombs" have emerged as an improvised weapon with the aim of causing maximum death and destruction, The Daily Telegraph can disclose, as the regime seeks to break rebel resistance in Syria's second city, Aleppo.

Filled with TNT, oil and chunks of steel, the exploding barrels kill and maim across a wider area than high explosives.

"The sound was like nothing else I've ever heard. It was an almighty whoosh," said Mohammed Ibrahim, a fighter recovering from an explosion that he said was of terrifying intensity caused by such a bomb.

"I was lucky I was standing behind a corner but I was still knocked off my feet. When I came round my ears were bleeding."

Resembling a bandaged survivor of the Great War trenches, he staggered on his feet as he displayed his injuries. He also had perforated eardrums.
Two dozen young men and children, some as young as five, were playing at a five-a-side football pitch hit by rockets in the town of Marea on Wednesday night. Three rockets, thought to have been fired from an army base 10 miles away, landed in proximity within a 15-minute stretch. 
The administrative block of the football facility, which has been used in recent weeks to house visiting foreign journalists who may have been the intended target, was showered with shrapnel.
The rebels opened a new front in the battle for Aleppo on Friday, attacking a number of regime security buildings. But the war at large seemed no nearer a conclusion. 
Following its failure to persuade the United Nations security council to back a "safe zone" for refugees inside northern Syria, Turkey said a "historic opportunity" had been missed.
"How long are we going to sit and watch while an entire generation is being wiped out by random bombardment and deliberate mass targeting?" the foreign minister, Ahmed Davutoglu, asked.

Three hours ago:
Children among 76 killed by Syrian army 'barrel bombs': report
By Oliver Holmes and John Stonestreet, Reuters
BEIRUT - Seventy-six people, including 28 children, were killed on Sunday when Syrian army helicopters dropped "barrel bombs" on the northern city of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday. 
Barrel bombs are explosive-filled cylinders or oil barrels, often rolled out of the back of helicopters with little attempt at striking a particular target but capable of causing widespread casualties and significant damage. 
Mohammed Al-Khatieb / AFP - Getty Images
 on a rebel area of the war-torn northern 

city of Aleppo on Sunday.
The Britain-based Observatory said that rebel groups in Aleppo issued a statement asking civilians in government-held parts of the city to move away from state security buildings, which they said would be targeted in retaliation for the bombings.

The Observatory -- which has a network of opposition, pro-government and medical sources -- also said on Monday that rebels in northern Aleppo province were threatening to strike two Shiite villages they have surrounded with missiles if barrel bombs were used again by the army.
President Bashar Assad's forces, battling rebels in a 2-1/2 year conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people, frequently deploy air power and artillery against rebel-held districts across the country. 
They have been unable to recapture eastern and central parts of Aleppo, which rebels stormed in the summer of 2012, but they have driven rebel fighters back from towns to the southeast of the city in recent weeks. 
The conflict has grown sectarian, with majority Sunni rebels battling Assad's own Alawite sect and Shiite militia.

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