Aleppo Bombings Weigh Heavily on Civilians

Aleppo bombings destruction

The burden of civil war continues to weigh heavily on the backs of Syrian civilians; over 90 are believed dead after the weekend’s bombings on the rebel-held city of Aleppo. Various neighborhoods were hit hard when government helicopters flew over the city, dropping barrel bombs.

This type of bomb entails an oil drum filled with explosives and scrap metal and has a devastating impact on buildings and infrastructure. Human rights groups have repeatedly attempted to make their usage a violation of international law as they are infamous for the indiscriminate destruction of civilian homes. Russia, a Syrian ally, continues to block these attempts. Many still consider the Aleppo raids a serious war crime.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based organization, stated that the casualties of the weeks’ air raids have been mostly civilians. Another humanitarian group, Human Rights Watch, issued a report on Thursday concluding that the Syrian government has intentionally razed many civilian homes; international law forbids this war tactic.

Throughout the four hours of bombing on Sunday, the rebel headquarters inside the city were repeatedly targeted. Despite this, only ten rebel soldiers were killed in this area, a fraction of the civilians who have felt the burden of war most heavily. Regime forces have been targeting Aleppo for weeks, oftentimes on a daily basis.

The city’s southern and eastern districts have been hit hardest by the bombings. The damage done in the raids has been devastating.

Syria’s civil war has a reputation for weighing heavily on non-combatants. Over 100,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the conflict, and many of these casualties were civilians. The civil war continues to cause the death of nearly 100 people daily.

Medical staff in Aleppo has asked the US to pressure the Assad regime into ceasing raids long enough for the city to regroup and treat the wounded. All roads leading away from the city have been blocked, eliminating the possibility of refuge from the bombings.

The city, Syria’s largest, saw heavy damage to residential areas. One amateur video taken after the raids showed men searching the ruins of a cinder block apartment complex for survivors as well as for bodies of the dead.

The bombings are sure to have a negative effect on peace talks between the regime and opposition forces which are scheduled to resume this Friday. Rebels and activists have already begun to cite the bombing as evidence that Assad has no intentions of reaching peace. Talks last Friday bore no fruits in coming closer to a resolution to the conflict.

The raids are likely to have a hugely negative effect on the post-war economy as Aleppo was once the country’s business center.

Syrian government has not commented on the Aleppo raids other than noting on the state-controlled news network that “terrorists” have been killed by regime forces. As the war rages on, civilians are expected to continue to feel the heavy weight of Syria’s civil war in Aleppo, as well as Damascus, the country’s capital.

By Spencer Lowe

nytimes.com
reuters.com
democracynow.org

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