Assad Is Bombing Syria's Biggest City Like Never Before

The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is in the midst of an unprecedented bombing campaign in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and one of the oldest in the world.

Syrian Air Force jest have been dropping bombs — including steel barrels packed with explosives and shrapnel — on the country’s former commercial and industrial hub for four straight days.

Here’s an unsettling photo showing the aftermath of a strike on Wednesday:

SyriaREUTERS/Saad AbobrahimA man gestures as he calls for help at a site hit by what activists said was an air strike from forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Tareek Al-Bab area of Aleppo, December 18, 2013.
Screen Shot 2013 12 19 at 8.44.32 AMReutersMap of Aleppo locating districts hit by Syrian Army’s ‘barrel bombs’ that killed 76 people on Sunday.

Rebels believe that the super intense air campaign, which is causing many civilians to flee to the countryside, could be the setup to a government ground offensive against theopposition-held halfof the city.

Assad has waged an air campaign against rebel-held towns since July 2012. The jet and helicopter attacks — which have also included incendiary bombs — have targeted bakeries, markets, hospitals, and schools in an attempt to disrupt civilian life under rebel rule.

The intended effect is to “let the population taste a nightmare version of freedom which would conceivably lead many people to choose Assad’s rule as the lesser evil,” Victor Kotsev of the Asia Times explained in January.

The plan has undoubtedly worked.

Here’s Homs, Syria’s third largest city and one of the first to rise up against Assad:

Here’s a strike on the town of Yabroud, a rebel stronghold located about 49 miles north of the capital Damascus (impact at 0:45):

And here’s another photo from Aleppo on December 9:

SyriaREUTERS/Ammar AbdullahA man carries a wounded girl who survived what activists say was an air strike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo’s al-Ansari al-Sharqi neighbourhood, December 9, 2013.

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