Barrel Bombs in Syria


The President of Syria, Bashar Assad, has denied his military’s use of any barrel bombs in the Syrian civil war against ISIS. Barrel bombs are any explosive device made in a container with gasoline and scraps of metal meant to set a large area on fire. The chunks of metal turn into shreds of hot shrapnel on impact, leaving those civilians who are not already dead, critically wounded. The inaccuracy of their design often harms civilians unintentionally.

Assad has publicly admitted the use of bombs, missiles, guns, and other warfare weapons. However, he continues to deny any association with the use of barrel bombs. Many journalists have explained that this type of bomb is the most deadly weapon in the Syrian military’s arsenal.

The UN outlawed the use of these bombs in Syria, but the demand has been unsuccessful. The decision last year was unanimous coming to the resolution that the bombs caused unintended injury in civilians due to the inaccuracy of flying scrap metal.

Over 200,000 people have been killed in the Syrian Conflict, thousands of those due to barrel bombs. The conflict between Assad and rebel groups has lasted for five years. The BBC interview where Assad was asked about his government’s use of barrel bombs, he also confirmed that he was receiving information regarding the U.S. coalition air strikes.

Footage has emerged showing these explosive bombs being dropped in Syria. Activists in southern Damascus filmed a compilation of exploding bombs. In the video, Syrian government helicopters are repeatedly seen dropping the bombs. The video shows a large barrel exploding and releasing debris for miles out. The video then cuts to the people hit by the blast. Those who are not dead need to be buried out of the rubble that was once their homes. The homemade bombs are extremely destructive and leave the half dead without limbs. The film was said to capture events that occurred in January of 2014.

The regime dropped one of these bombs on a mosque in Aleppo being used as a school. Fifteen schoolboys were reported dead. All of these attacks using the homemade bombs, two to three mile in diameter craters are created where the blast hit.

Secretary of State, John Kerry, released a statement describing this barrel bomb dropping as the most recent “barbaric attack.” He recognizes that the regime is committed to ending the war however; he sees their single-mindedness as a cause of more destruction.

The Assad regime is also known to have dropped the rudimentary bombs on medical facilities as if it were a rebel target. Bombs are also being dropped in other highly populated areas. The use of these barrel bombs has become a primary asset in the regimes military offense. The regime’s little concern for civilian safety in these attacks is evident.

Syria’s dropping of barrel bombs continues to be denied by Assad. Despite video footage and eye witnesses releasing statements they have seen the use of Syrian regime helicopters dropping the bombs, Assad still refuses to confirm them.

Written by Audrey Madden





Photo by – francediplomatie – Creative Commons License

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