News / Middle East

Week-long Aleppo Air Raids Kill More Than 300

A man reacts after what activists said was an air raid by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Aleppo's al-Marja district, Dec. 23, 2013.
A man reacts after what activists said was an air raid by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Aleppo's al-Marja district, Dec. 23, 2013.
Reuters
More than 300 people have been killed in a week of air raids on the northern Syrian city of Aleppo and nearby towns by President Bashar al-Assad's forces, a monitoring group said on Monday.
 
Many of the casualties, who included scores of women and children, were killed by so-called barrel bombs dropped from helicopters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
 
Syrian authorities say they are battling rebels who have controlled parts of Aleppo, Syria's biggest city, and most of the surrounding countryside for the past 18 months.
 
But human rights group have condemned the use of the improvised bombs - oil drums or cylinders which are packed with explosives and metal fragments, often rolled out of the aircraft cargo bay - as an indiscriminate form of bombardment.
 
Rami Abdulrahman, director of the British-based pro-opposition Observatory, said 87 children and 30 women were among the 301 people killed in the Aleppo air raids since Dec. 15.
 
Assad's forces have clawed back territory to the southeast of the city in recent weeks and have reasserted control over several Damascus suburbs in the build-up to planned peace talks next month aimed ending Syria's almost three-year-old conflict.
 
The army is thought unlikely to be able to recapture major parts of Aleppo before the talks in Switzerland start on Jan. 22, but Abdulrahman said the air raids might be aimed instead at turning the remaining residents against the rebel fighters by showing that the insurgents could not protect civilians.

  • A man reacts at the site of what activists said was an air raid by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in the al-Marja district of Aleppo, Dec. 23, 2013. 
  • People run after what activists said was the return of government jet planes in the al-Marja district of Aleppo, Dec. 23, 2013. 
  • People react after what activists said was an air raid by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in the al-Marja district of Aleppo, Dec. 23, 2013.
  • People inspect a site damaged by what activists said was an air raid by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in the al-Marja district of Aleppo, Dec. 23, 2013. 
  • In this citizen journalism image, a firefighter hoses down burning vehicles after a Syrian air strike in Aleppo, Dec. 22, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image shows damages of a burned bus after a Syrian air strike in Aleppo, Dec. 22, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image shows a destroyed building after a Syrian air strike in Aleppo, Dec. 22, 2013.

The Observatory says that more than 125,000 people have been killed in Syria's civil war, which has also forced 2 million people to seek refuge abroad and driven more than a third of the country's 23 million people from their homes.
 
Human Rights Watch said in a report at the weekend that barrel bomb attacks in Aleppo had hit residential and shopping areas, describing the air raids as illegal.
 
“The Syrian air force is either criminally incompetent, doesn't care whether it kills scores of civilians, or deliberately targets civilian areas,” HRW senior emergency researcher Ole Solvang said in the report.
 
Rebels also appeared to have violated international law by indiscriminately launching rockets and mortar bombs at civilian areas in the government-controlled part of Aleppo, HRW said.
 
It said on Dec. 4 they fired at least 10 surface-to-surface rockets into residential areas, killing at least 19 civilians.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs