Rights Group: Syrian Barrel Bombs Kill 71 - News Hunter Magazine

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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Rights Group: Syrian Barrel Bombs Kill 71

Syrian army helicopters on Saturday dropped barrel bombs on Islamic
State-controlled areasof Aleppo, killing 71 people and wounding dozens
more, most of them civilians.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which documents
violence on the ground in Syria through a network of activists, said
59 menwere killed in an airstrike on a busy market called Souk al-Hal
in the town of al-Bab in Aleppo'scountryside. At least another 12
people were killed in a blast in the rebel-held Shaar neighborhood of
Aleppo, most of them from the same family.

The U.N. special envoy for Syria,Staffan de Mistura, said the bombing
of a civilian market area "deserves the most strong international
condemnation." He said "it is totally unacceptable that the Syrian air
force attacks its own territory in an indiscriminate way," and added
that the "use of barrel bombs must stop."

In a Twitter message, the Islamic State called the al-Bab attack a
"devastating massacre" committed by the Syrian army.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has denied the air force uses barrel
bombs — crude weapons made of oil drums, gas cylindersor water tanks
packed with explosives and scrap metal.

State news agency SANA did not report on these specific raids but,
citing a military source, saidthe armed forces had targeted Islamic
State militants in Aleppo province's eastern countryside and hit
"terrorist organizations" on a road running north to the border, as
well as to the south of Aleppo city and within the city itself.

Meanwhile, Islamic State militants carried out two suicide bombings
targeting Syrian troops in the predominantly Kurdish city of Hasakah.

The United States and its allies said they continued their airstrikes
on Islamic State positions Friday into Saturday, hitting 16 targets in
Iraq and another six in Syria.

The military command said it deployed bomber and fighter aircraft and
drones to hit Islamic State command centers and destroy the
insurgents' weaponry.

The U.S. Central Command announced that two of its officials met in
recent days with Syrian opposition and civilian leaders to discuss the
ongoing American effort to train and equip forces fighting Islamic
State insurgents in Syria.

More than 220,000 people have been killed in the Syrian uprising
against the Assad regime since the unrest began more than four years
ago.

Syria's military had recently been hit by a series of setbacks.

Insurgents, including al-Qaida's Syrian wing, Nusra Front, celebrated
inside the last government-held town in Idlib province on Friday after
capturing it the night before, while the Islamic State group has
secured its grip on the ancient central city of Palmyra.

In Syria's northeast, clashes erupted between pro-government forces
and Islamic State fighters to the south and southeast of Hasakah city,
the Observatory said Friday,after the al-Qaida offshoot planted a bomb
on the edge of the city.

Hasakah province is strategically important because it lies next
toIslamic State-held territory in Iraq, where the group is back onthe
offensive after losing the city of Tikrit at the start of the month.

SANA said the Syrian military had foiled an attack on Hasakah and that
it had been targeting Islamic State in the countryside with the help
of Kurdish YPG militia. The YPG, which has fought the fiercest battles
against Islamic State in the northeast, says it does not coordinate
with the Syrian military.



Credit: VOA News

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