Syrian army attacks kill or wound 5,000 in five days, group says
Syrian military air raids have killed or wounded some 5,000 people in five days, including a helicopter attack on the rebel-held city of Aleppo that left at least 26 dead, a London-based monitoring group said Friday.
Since the start of this month, “Helicopters dropped more than 350 explosive barrels (barrel bombs) on areas in the cities, towns and villages of the provinces of Rif Dimashq, Idlib, Homs, Quneitra, Hasakah, Daraa, Aleppo, Lattakia and Hama,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on its website.
It said that in the latest attack a pair of army helicopters dropped two barrel bombs Thursday evening over the old Aleppo neighborhood of Qarliq, hours after a rebel attack in Damascus killed nine people.
Women and children were among at least 26 dead in the Aleppo attack, SOHR said.
Overall since the beginning of February, “Raids and barrel bombs have left deaths of 185 civilians, including 34 children and 29 women, while 800 others were wounded, some of them in critical situation,” SOHR claimed.
Online videos of the fighting in Damascus showed thick columns of smoke rising from burning buildings, the thud of shells and the crying of children.
The official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported six people killed in rebel attacks in three provinces on Thursday, including Aleppo, which has a mixed population of Kurds and Arabs.
In an interview with US-based Foreign Policy magazine last month, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad vowed that all rebels and insurgents would be flushed out of Syria during the current year.
According to UN estimates, more than 220,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war, which is soon going into its fifth year.
The war began with rebels fighting to overthrow Assad’s regime, but has since turned into a quagmire, with the Islamic State (ISIS) in control of a third of the country, and various other jihadist and rebels groups involved in the fighting.
Iran has also played a key role, backing Assad’s regime with weapons, fighters and advisors fighting the jihadists and Western-backed rebels.