At Rate of 28 Barrel Bombs Per Day, Assad Regime Presses on With Mass Forced Displacement

An independent rights group has released a report documenting the Assad regime’s continued use of barrel bombs against the civilian population in various areas across Syria. It said the use of this type of weapon is one of the Assad regime’s tactics to force civilians to leave their homes and areas.

In a new report released on Tuesday, the Syrian Network for Human Rights said it had recorded the use of 25,364 barrel bombs by the Assad regime since the beginning of the direct Russian military intervention on September 31, 2015. It noted that the Assad regime used barrel bombs at a rate of 28 barrels per day.

The report indicated that the Assad regime dropped no fewer than 761 barrel bombs in April, adding that at least 2,388 barrel bombs have struck the rebel-held areas since the beginning of 2018. The report noted that barrel bomb attacks claimed the lives of 59 civilians in April, including 19 children and 22 women.

According to the report, the Assad regime in April deployed barrel bombs loaded with poisonous and chemical weapons for the second consecutive month to target eastern Ghouta. The report listed the April 7 massacre in the town of Douma in eastern Ghouta when the Assad regime dropped a barrel bomb filled with chemical weapons on the Damascus suburb. The attack killed 41 civilians, including 12 children and 15 women.

According to the monitoring group, the Assad regime has intensified the use of barrel bombs, many of which were stuffed with incendiary or chemical substances in parallel with the military campaigns it launched to force civilians out of their homes and property.

The Network cited the mass forced displacement of the people of the town of Douma last March as well as the intensified barrel bombings of northern rural Homs, southern rural Hama, and southern Damascus.

President of the Syrian Coalition Abdul Rahman Mustafa on Tuesday said that the mass forced displacement and demographic change operations taking place against civilians in Syria “are not subject to statute of limitations and will eventually be referred to the International Criminal Court.”

Mustafa stressed that Iran bears primary responsibility for the mass forced displacement operations which are being orchestrated by Iran and executed by the Assad regime under Russia’s sponsorship. He noted that these operations are added to the litany of “war crimes” the Assad regime and its backers are committing in Syria.

The past few months have seen the largest mass forced displacement operations against residents of the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta, northern rural Homs and southern rural Hama. The operations saw the Assad regime and Russia use’s of various internationally prohibited weapons, including barrel bombs loaded with incendiary and chemical substances. These attacks prompted missile strikes against the Assad regime by the United States, Great Britain and France.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 09.05.2018)

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