Barrels of death In SYRIA

Posted by Yooper 4 years ago in War
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Prior to the Civil War, the Syrian arsenal was built to counter an Israeli attack and thus did not have much in the way of close air support (eg. air to ground bombs and missiles), rather ground-to-air and air-to-air missiles to harass and delay the Israeli air force. The Syrian military thus soon ran out of precision weapons, had trouble obtaining more and needed a cheap and readily available supply of air to ground weapons. Barrel bombs were first identified in August 2012, in particular through the video forensic work of Eliot Higgins (Brown Moses) and Richard Lloyd. Their existence was initially denied by a Russian military expert until a video surfaced in October 2012 from inside a moving helicopter showing a barrel bomb being lit and dropped onto a target by Syrian Air Force personnel. The deliberate use of indiscriminate weapons makes President Assad potentially liable for war crimes. As such Assad has denied the use of these weapons, saying "We have bombs, missiles and bullets. There [are] no barrel bombs, we don't have barrels." Nevertheless there is considerable video, pictorial, and after the fact proof of the use of such weapons in Syria. Barrel bomb attacks throughout Syria have killed more than 20,000 people since the conflict began in March 2011, according to a December 2013 statement by the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC). It is estimated that, as of mid-March 2014, between 5,000 to 6,000 barrel bombs have been dropped during the war and their use has escalated. Aleppo has been the focal point of the Syrian government's use of barrel bombs. Over time, government forces have refined their use of the barrel bomb to cause maximum damage - dropping one device and then waiting 10 to 30 minutes to drop another bomb on the same location. According to opposition activists, the aim is to ensure that those who flood the scene to rescue the victims are then themselves killed. In February 2014, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution that demanded an end to indiscriminate aerial bombardment including the use of barrel bombs. China and Russia supported the measure allowing its passage. Five months later in August 2014, it was reported that barrel bomb use had instead escalated in defiance of the ban. Human Rights Watch produced a map showing at least 650 new impact locations consistent with barrel bomb attacks. In early September 2014, Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N., stated that "The Syrian government has increased its reliance on barrel bombs to wage a brutal aerial campaign..." By November 2014, it has been reported that the Syrian government has increased its barrel bombing campaign while world attention has been diverted following the American-led intervention in Syria.

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