Syria Government Steps Up 'Barrel Bombs' On Civilian Targets, Defying U.N. Edict

The government of Syria has rained down more destructive barrel bombs on civilian neighborhoods since a United Nations resolution in February called for an end to the indiscriminate bombings than it did before the U.N. resolution, according to the international group Human Rights Watch.

The U.N. Security Council passed the resolution on February 22. Since then, Human Rights Watch has found 630 new damage sites where barrel bombs blew up in Aleppo, the civil-war-torn country's largest city— compared to 380 barrel bomb sites in the 113 days prior to the resolution passing.

In the meantime, the U.N. Security Council has met five times and dome nothing further to condemn the bombings by the ruling regime in Syria against its own civilians, stymied by the veto power of Russia and China, Human Right Watch said.

"Month after month, the Security Council has sat idly by as the government defied its demands with new barrel-bomb attacks on Syrian civilians," said Sarah Leah Whitson, of the rights group. "Russia and China need to allow the Security Council to show the same resolve and unanimity it brought to the issue of humanitarian aid to call a halt to these deadly attacks on civilians."

The group wants the U.N. to pass an arms embargo against all groups in Syria, including the government, that use bombing attacks of any kind against civilian populations.

Since the February 22 resolution, 1,665 Syrian civilians have been killed in barrel bomb attacks in Aleppo, according to a local human rights group, The Violations Documentation Center. Other reports say that more than 2,000 have died in government barrel bomb assaults in 2014.

Barrel bombs are, as the name implies, ordinary barrels, such as oil drums, filled with high explosives as well as stray shards of metal meant to inflict as much brutal injury as possible. The bombs are generally dropped from low-flying helicopters.

In December of last year alone, about 500 people died in Aleppo from Syria government barrel bomb attacks.

The Syrian civil war has so far claimed a staggering 126,000 lives since it broke out in the spring of 2011, when thousands of protesters took to the streets demanding that Syria President Bashar al-Assad release all political prisoners, and Assad's troops opened fire on the demonstrators.

Just on the evening of July 29 and morning of July 30, 11 more people were killed by barrel bombs in two separate Aleppo neighborhoods, according to the British group, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Eight more people were buried in the rubble of buildings destroyed by the Syria government barrel bombs, their fates unknown, the group reported.