Clear evidence of Syrian helicopters dropping explosive steel barrels onto civilians

Arabic TV station Al Jazeera has acquired video evidence of army forces under the control of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad dropping a barrel bomb out of a military helicopter seemingly onto innocent civilians.

Assad barrel bombPlay GIFAl JazeeraA Syrian soldier pushing a barrel bomb out of a helicopter.

Assad has denied the use of barrel bombs — large oil drums, fuel tanks, or gas cylinders packed with fuel, explosives and metal fragments for increased lethal effect — for months now despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

This latest bit of damning evidence was filmed from a mobile phone on board a military helicopter. It shows a soldier using his cigarette to light a barrel bomb before pushing it out of the helicopter.

The phone with the video on it was discovered in the wreckage of a crashed Syrian helicopter and handed over to Al Jazeera who broadcast it last night, according to Gov.uk.

“This video footage exposes Assad’s lies on barrel bombs,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in response to the video to Gov.uk.

“It shows the casual and indiscriminate way in which Syrian regime forces are dropping these horrific weapons out of helicopters onto civilians below. For months we have seen reports of barrel bombs hitting hospitals and schools, killing thousands.”

“The UN has called for an end to these attacks but Assad continues to ignore international outrage,” Hammond added. “We will bring those involved in these criminal acts to justice and will continue to help those caught in attacks by continuing our support of rescue teams working on the ground.”

Here is what a barrel bomb looks like:

The Syrian government is currently fighting the Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, ISIS, secular rebel groups, and Kurdish forces in a multi-sided civil war that’s killed upwards of 200,000 people since it began four years ago.
Earlier this month Amnesty International released a scathing report charging Assad with crimes against humanity for his use of barrel bombs on innocent civilians in the city of Aleppo, once the largest city in Syria.

“Civilians in Aleppo are experiencing unthinkable atrocities at the hands of the regime of president Bashar al-Assad,” said Amnesty International in their report.

They estimate some 3,100 civilians in Aleppo have died at the hands of al-Assad since the beginning of 2014.

Watch the full Al Jazzera report here:

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