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Barrel bombs rain on taxi stand in Aleppo
September 06, 2014
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BEIRUT: Syrian helicopters dropped barrel bombs on a taxi stand in the city of Aleppo on Friday, killing at least 12 civilians, including a child, a monitoring group said.

“Twelve civilians, among them a child, were killed, and five others seriously wounded after helicopters launched two explosive-laden barrels against the Haidariyeh district,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

An AFP journalist at the scene saw at least a dozen bloodied corpses lying on the ground.

One, wrapped in a shroud, was apparently that of a child.

The journalist also saw several people on stretchers, showing burns and shrapnel wounds, and others lying in pools of blood near sandbags.

It was not clear whether they were dead.

Haidariyeh is home to a popular taxi stand, and the AFP journalist said he saw numerous destroyed cars.

There was also a massive crater in the street left by one of the bombs.

One resident said: “I saw the bodies. They were workers, people who were simply trying to find a way to put bread on the table... You can see the human remains.” A man who had volunteered to help rescue survivors said “taxi drivers gather here to transport workers and goods... There were no rebels here.”

Last December, President Bashar Al Assad’s regime launched a massive aerial campaign against rebel districts in the east of Syria’s second city, despite a UN Security Council resolution condemning such strikes.

In July, Human Rights Watch condemned the air force campaign, saying it had killed 1,700 people in five months.

Barrel bombs are typically constructed from large oil drums, gas cylinders or water tanks, filled with high explosives and scrap metal to enhance fragmentation.

Meanwhile dozens of organisations in a joint statement on Friday demanded the immediate release of three prominent Syrian rights activists including journalist Mazen Darwish, who have been held since February 2012.

“The Syrian government should immediately and unconditionally release the arbitrarily detained human rights defender Mazen Darwish” and his colleagues Hussein Ghreir and Hani Zaitani, said the statement signed by 79 groups including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders. The three men, who worked for the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), have been in jail since a security forces raid on the group’s Damascus office more than two and a half years ago.


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