Syria activists detail 2014 deaths by barrel bombs

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This photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center (AMC), which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a Syrian young inspecting the rubble of houses that were destroyed by airstrikes from the Syrian government forces in Aleppo, Syria, Sunday, May 18, 2014. Syrian rebels captured a village in northwestern Syria on Sunday, killing more than a dozen government troops in heavy clashes and prompting the military to carry out airstrikes to try to dislodge the fighters, activists said. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center)

This photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center (AMC), which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a Syrian young inspecting the rubble of houses that were destroyed by airstrikes from the Syrian government forces in Aleppo, Syria, Sunday, May 18, 2014. Syrian rebels captured a village in northwestern Syria on Sunday, killing more than a dozen government troops in heavy clashes and prompting the military to carry out airstrikes to try to dislodge the fighters, activists said. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center)

This photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center (AMC), which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows buildings which were destroyed from a Syrian government airstrike in Aleppo, Syria, Saturday, May. 17, 2014. The United Nations chief has condemned a cut in water supplies in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo that he said has deprived at least 2.5 million people of access to potable water. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC)

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BEIRUT (AP) — Crude bombs dropped by Syrian government forces on rebel-held parts of the northern city of Aleppo have killed nearly 2,000 people so far this year, an activist group said Friday.

The grim figure is the latest addition to the deadly tally from Syria’s civil war, which has killed more than 162,000 people, according to activists. The crude bombs — known as barrel bombs — are shrapnel-packed explosive devices that Syrian forces have been rolling out of helicopters over rebel-held neighborhoods.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights — one of the main groups counting the dead in the three-year-long conflict — said Friday there were 1,963 deaths in 2014 from barrel bombs in Aleppo, including 283 women and 567 people under the age of 18.

According to the Observatory, 14 people are dying on average every day in Aleppo because of the barrel bombs. The containers, or barrels, are usually packed with hundreds of kilograms (pounds) of explosives as well as scraps of metal and are intended to cause massive damage on impact.

A U.N. Security Council resolution adopted in February demanded, among other things, a halt to all attacks on civilians in Syria and indiscriminate shelling and aerial bombardment, including the use of barrel bombs in populated areas.

In March, the New York-based Human Rights Watch said it used satellite imagery to identify at least 340 places in rebel-controlled areas of Aleppo that were damaged between early November and Feb. 20. The majority of the sites bore signatures of damage consistent with barrel bombs, it said.

Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and once its commercial center, has been carved into rebel- and government-controlled areas since opposition fighters launched an offensive there in mid-2012.

Associated Press

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