Forces loyal to Syrian President Basher al-Assad bombed a crowded vegetable market in the city of Aleppo on Saturday, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported. The air offensive targeted an area that is a known rebel stronghold. The attack, which featured the use of “barrel bombs,” has drawn international condemnation.
Local observers from a human rights monitoring agency reported that among the dead were two children, AFP news reported.
Over the last two weeks Aleppo has been the target of unrelenting attacks by Assad’s air force. Assad’s forces have been regaining territory southeast of Aleppo in recent weeks and have made gains in suburbs around the capital Damascus as well.
The use of “barrel bombs” is an especially disturbing feature of this latest phase of the country’s civil war. This grizzly new method, which involves the dropping of barrels containing explosives from overhead helicopters, has thus far killed over 70 people, injured dozens of others and devastated large areas of the city, Ma’ariv said.
The French government, which has proven to be a loyal ally of the rebels, has classified the use of explosive barrels by Syrian forces as a war crime. A spokesperson from the French Foreign Ministry in Paris called on Assad and his regime to put an end to the practice immediately.