Scores killed by barrel bomb attack east of Aleppo


More than 40 were killed as an Islamic State stronghold continues to be targeted by Syrian government airstrikes

Activist photos show the aftermath of a barrel bomb attack on Manbij(Twitter/270_dogma)
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Last update: 
Friday 15 May 2015 18:15 UTC

A barrel bomb attack in Aleppo governate reportedly killed at least 40 people on Friday as the city continues to endure intense fighting between the Syrian government and rebel forces.

Activists in the town of Manbij, an Islamic State (IS) stronghold east of Aleppo city, told local news media that a barrel bomb attack on a bakery had killed at least 40 people, with some estimates as high as 100.

Smartphone footage appeared to show the aftermath of the attack:

Continuous fighting has left many Aleppo residents in a state of despair and morale continues to shrink.

The Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, in an interview with the Catholic News Service, warned that life was becoming “more and more difficult and tiring”.

“Something like 80 per cent of people in Aleppo are without jobs. So they don’t have any money to survive,” the bishop said.

“We have everyday bombings,” he said. “I can have a bomb on my street, my cathedral, my bishopric, on the schools. We don’t know why and where,” but it happens every day.

“Those incidents spread trouble and fear, and the Christians living in Aleppo are trying even more desperately to migrate to the West," he said.

“This is really something very sad for us,” he said, noting that the Christians of Aleppo were one of the oldest communities in the world.

'War crimes'

Last week, a report released by Amnesty International accused the government of committing “crimes against humanity” while also criticising the rebel side for “war crimes”.

"By relentlessly and deliberately targeting civilians the Syrian government appears to have adopted a callous policy of collective punishment against the civilian population of Aleppo," said Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa programme director Philip Luther.

The report also slammed the rebels for use of "imprecise weapons such as mortars and improvised rockets fitted with gas canisters called 'hell cannons'".

Aleppo had once been the heart of Syria's economic modernisations, but has been split between government forces in the West and rebel forces in the East since fighting broke out in mid-2012.

More than 220,000 people have been killed in Syria since March 2011, according to the SOHR.

In an interview with the Syria Deeply website, Abo-Obaida al-Halabi, a doctor in the city, warned of diminishing medical resources.

“We don’t have doctors in all the specialties, and they’re not always around because they constantly move between hospitals in the city and hospitals in the countryside, or between hospitals in the city itself,” he said.

“At al-Sakhour medical centre there were five doctors, an orthopaedic surgeon, a urologist and three internists, most of whom had only recently graduated, so they lacked experience in dealing with critical cases. This shortage of doctors put a lot of pressure on the nurses and the volunteers.”