20 dead in Syria barrel bomb attack in Aleppo

June 16, 2014 - 2:32:58 pm

BEIRUT: Syrian regime helicopters on Monday dropped barrel bombs on an opposition-held district in northern Aleppo city, killing at least 20 people, including several children, an NGO said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a number of people were injured, including some in serious condition, in the attacks on the Sukkari neighbourhood.

The group distributed gruesome images from the scene of the attacks, showing residents holding body parts of those killed in the raids.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said a first attack created chaos, with residents and medics rushing to the scene to help those affected.

Then several minutes after the first attack, a second bomb was dropped at the same site, with those at the scene trying to flee but many failing to do so in time.

Syria's regime has waged a fierce aerial offensive against rebel-held parts of Aleppo city since last December.

The Observatory said in May the campaign had killed nearly 2,000 people -- more than a quarter of them children -- since the beginning of 2014.

Rights groups have decried the regime's use of barrel bombs as unlawful because they lack an aiming mechanism, causing indiscriminate killing.

Tens of thousands of people have fled Aleppo's opposition districts in recent months because of the aerial campaign.

Elsewhere in the country, the Observatory said 11 people, including eight children, were killed on Sunday night by rebel shelling of a government-held area in western Idlib province.

More than 162,000 people have been killed in Syria's conflict, which began with peaceful protests against President Bashar al-Assad's regime in March 2011 before spiralling into a bloody war after a massive government crackdown on dissent. (AFP)