Although bombardments by the Assad regime and Russia in northern Syria on civilians and vital services have been frequent, Tuesday witnessed the use of barrel bombs for the first time since the Sochi agreement between Russia and Turkey, in a move that has raised fears about the return of massacres by the regime and its allies after a relative decline following the Sochi agreement and before that Astana.
Two civilians were killed and three others wounded in barrel bomb bombardment carried out by regime helicopters on de-escalation zones in northern Syria. Local sources told Anadolu agency that those killed and wounded by the barrel bombs were in the villages of Abadin in the southern Idleb countryside and al-Arineh in the northern Hama countryside.
The sources said that it was the first time people had been killed by these weapons since the Sochi agreement in September, adding that the bombing had struck a large number of villages and towns in the de-escalation zone in the northern and western Hama countryside and the southern Idleb countryside.
Barrel bombs are an old Soviet weapon made of metallic barrels stuffed with explosive material, as well as small metal fragments and shrapnel.
The Syrian regime has used barrel bombs to strike populated civilian areas outside its control, despite international condemnation.
Assad’s forces also struck a displaced camp in the Hama countryside home to 567 families, killing a child and a young man and wounding others, which coincided with another bombing of a medical center in al-Ltamenah town and an obstetrics hospital in Qalaat al-Madiq in the Hama countryside, which caused it to cease service.
This escalation comes a few days after the end of the Astana 12 talks, whose closing statement said that the parties discussed in detail the situation in the de-escalation zone in Idleb province and, “agreed on the need for a full implementation of the Sochi deal’s items agreed [between Turkey and Russia] on Sept. 17, 2018, particularly” in this province.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.