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Syrian regime has used 70,000 barrel bombs since 2012, says rights group

A civil defence team member carries a wounded boy, rescued from the wreckage of a building after the Assad Regime carried out air strikes in Idlib in Syria on 28 December 2017 [Saed Zidan/Anadolu Agency]
A civil defence team member carries a wounded boy, rescued from the wreckage of a building after the Assad Regime carried out air strikes in Idlib, Syria [Saed Zidan/Anadolu Agency]

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that the Syrian air force has dropped an estimated 70,000 barrel bombs on its own citizens since July 2012. The organisation revealed the details in its report "The Ruthless Bombing".

The use of barrel bombs, said the Observatory, is a manifestation of "one of the most appalling ways in which the international community has blatantly let down the Syrian people." The barrel bombs, it suggested, "have been forgotten almost completely in the last year" with no condemnations of the repeated use of this "barbaric" weapon.

The rights group questioned the possibility of accepting a regime that drops such bombs on its own citizens. "It does this without agreeing to any form of political agreements, except those which rehabilitate it in the eyes of the world, and only gives some ceremonial positions to its opponents."

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According to the Chairman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights:

The repeated use of this arbitrary, indiscriminate weapon against residential communities is a message to the Syrian people that protecting civilians and international law are mere illusions, and that you have to submit and accept the regime that is killing you.

Fadel Abdul Ghany called upon the UN Security Council "to take decisive action against the Syrian regime's use of arbitrary weapon on this large, widespread scale." He also called on the UN special envoy to Syria "to play a more effectual role in putting an end to the winter of barrel bombs in Syria."

The use of such bombs, Abdul Ghany pointed out, hasn't stopped, even when talks were being held in Geneva or when de-escalation agreements were reached.

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