BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syrian military helicopters dropped barrels packed with explosives in the government’s latest air raids on rebel-held areas of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Saturday, killing at least 23 people, including a family trapped in a burning car, activists said.
In neighboring Lebanon, a car bomb blew up near a gas station in a Shiite town, killing at least three people, in the latest attack linked to the war in Syria.
Ahmad al-Hamoud, Vice Commander of Ahfad Hamza Battalion for Special Missions, al-Sultan al-Fatih Brigade, told VDC that many kinds of the barrel bombs used by the regime forces had been recognizable. These included:
1- Regular Russian-made Barrels. These are believed to have been used by the Russian Army in the middle of the previous century. They were brought from Russia ‘ready to use’. The regime has owned them for decades. Their weight ranges between 300 to 500 kg and they’re filled with TNT and metallic scraps. There’re extremely destructive, yet their range is more limited than that of the other kinds.
2- Medium Destruction Barrels. These are believed to be made by the regime in ‘Defense Factories’ in al-Safira, in the Valley of al-Waha. Most of the helicopters taking off from this valley dropped these barrels on the districts of Aleppo. The weight of these barrels ranges from 400 to 500 kg.
3- Highly Destructive Barrels. These are the most dangerous and destructive of all. Weighing more than 600 kg, they take many shapes like containers, cisterns and, in some cases, green rubbish containers.
“A Special Report on the Recent Air Attacks on Aleppo: Potential Death Falling from the Sky…: Violation Documentation Center in Syria, March 2014. Note: graphic forensic photographs included in the report.
Posted to YouTube 2/24/2015.
Source: https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/02/24/syria-new-spate-barrel-bomb-attacks – 2/24/2015.
Barrel bombs are improvised weapons: oil drums or similar canisters filled with explosives and metal fragments. They are dropped without guidance from helicopters hovering just above antiaircraft range, typically hitting the ground with huge explosions and the widespread diffusion of deadly shrapnel. They pulverize neighborhoods, destroy entire buildings and leave broad strips of death and destruction.
http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/aljazeeraworld/2015/03/150325072934200.html – 3/25/2015 – “Death of Aleppo”.
Footage has emerged showing the Syrian regime using explosive “barrel bombs” on civilian neighbourhoods, killing hundreds, while its representatives attended peace talks at Geneva.
Filmed by activists in the southern Damascus suburb of Daraya, the ten minute video is a compilation of footage showing barrels, loaded with TNT, being dropped on the neighbourhood during the week the Geneva II conference was convened.
Nongovernmental organizations researching and working in Syria, including Human Rights Watch and the Syrian Civil Defense, testified during the meeting. Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations special envoy on Syria, said in a video message that the Syrian government is responsible for the use of barrel bombs and that at the rate the weapons are being used, there won’t be any civilians left in Syria.
Government forces and pro-government militia continue to conduct widespread attacks on civilians, systematically committing murder, torture, rape and enforced disappearance as crimes against humanity. Government forces have committed gross violations of human rights and the war crimes of murder, hostage-taking, torture, rape and sexual violence, recruiting and using children in hostilities and targeting civilians in sniper attacks. Government forces disregarded the special protection accorded to hospitals, medical and humanitarian personnel and cultural property. Aleppo was subjected to a campaign of barrel bombing that targeted entire areas and spread terror among civilians. Government forces used incendiary weapons, causing superfluous injury and unnecessary suffering, in violation of international humanitarian law. Indiscriminate and disproportionate aerial bombardment and shelling caused large-scale arbitrary displacement. Government forces and pro-government militia perpetrated massacres.
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. “Report of the independent international commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic.” Human Rights Council, 25th Session, Agenda Item 4, February 12, 2014.
While the Assad opposition masks off its own excesses, and, as always in the Islamic Small Wars, it’s hard “seeing” who is fighting exactly for what and how they’re doing it, warrior band by band, and sometimes person by person, there are no doubts as regards the smashing of large business, education, religious, and residential areas packed with noncombatant Syrians.
As Syrian Muslim and Jewish relationships develop — a perhaps “unheard of” now heard of — and Syrian anti-Semitism and anti-westernism comes more into focus as one impediment among several to western intercession, the scales may tip in the direction of the cosmopolitan and modern and therefore away from the medieval worldview that forms the basis for the despotism displayed by Putin, Assad, and Khamenei on the Shiite axis and al-Nusra and ISIS and others on the Sunni complement that serves the former as foils for the cooked up theatrical “Assad vs The Terrorists”.
In Syria, the center could not hold and the rough beast rose to savage the land.
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