No less than 648 Barrel Bombs in December 2016
SNHR has published its monthly report on the use of barrel bombs by Syrian regime forces for the month of December.
The report notes that a barrel bomb is a distinctively indiscriminate weapon with huge destructive impact. Therefore, the barrel bomb doesn’t only kill civilians but also terrorizes and displaces residents in light of the destruction it creates. Dropping barrel bombs from warplanes in this savage and primitive manner amount to a war crime. Every barrel bomb dropped is considered a war crime.
Furthermore, the report notes that barrel bombs were used notably for the first time on Monday 1 December 2012 against the residents of Salqein city. Also, the barrel bomb is a locally-made weapon which is used by Syrian regime forces due to the fact that it is costs notably less than missiles and it has a huge destructive impact. Barrel bombs are a distinctively indiscriminate weapon that even if it killed an armed man, this would be an accident as 99% of the victims killed by barrel bombs are civilians, and the percentage of women and children victims varies from 12% to 35% in some cases.
The report stresses that the daily monitoring and documentation conducted by SNHR prove, beyond any doubt, that the Syrian regime continues to kill and destroy Syria by dropping hundreds of barrel bombs, despite what Vitaly Churkin, the Russian representative to the United Nations, said about the Syrian regime having stopped using barrel bombs.
The report documents that Syrian regime helicopters dropped 12,958 barrel bombs in 2016. Most of these barrel bombs were dropped in Damascus suburbs governorate, followed by Aleppo and then Hama, Idlib, Daraa, and Homs. Furthermore, November 2016 saw the most of these barrel bombs with 1946 dropped followed by June, and then January and August.
According to the report, the barrel bombs that were dropped by Syrian regime warplanes in 2016 resulted in the killing of 653 civilians including 166 children and 86 women.
Additionally, the report says that the barrel bombs that were dropped by Syrian regime helicopters in 2016 caused damages to 97 vital civil facilities at least including 23 places of worship and 12 vital educational facilities. In addition, 28 vital medical facilities, one vital cultural facility, three communal facilities, and 30 infrastructures were damaged in barrel bombs attacks.
The report documents that no less than 648 barrel bombs were dropped in the month of December 2016, most of these barrel bombs were dropped in Damascus suburbs governorate followed by Aleppo. Barrel bombs bombardment resulted in the killing of 59 civilians, including 22 children, 11 women, one medical personnel, and two civil defense personnel in December. In addition, barrel bombs attacks caused damages to no less than 14 civil vital facilities.
The report emphasizes that the Syrian government has, beyond any doubt, violated Security Council Resolution 2139, and used barrel bombs in a widespread and systematic manner and violated, through the crime of murder, Article 7 of the Rome Statute in a widespread and systematic manner as well which constitutes crimes against humanity. Additionally, the Syrian government violated many rules of the international humanitarian law by perpetrating tens of crimes that amount to war crimes which manifested in the indiscriminate and random bombardment that was also disproportionate due to the use of excessive force.
The report calls on the Security Council to insure the serious implementation of its Resolutions. These Resolutions have become merely words and, thus, the Security Council has lost all of its credibility and purpose.
Also, the report demands that an arms embargo is imposed on the Syrian government, and all those who are supplying the Syrian government with funding and weapon should be prosecuted considering the risk that these weapons might be used to commit crimes and serious violations of human rights.