No fewer than 24 people, mostly civilians, were killed on Wednesday in airstrikes by Syrian army helicopters against two rebel-held areas in the north of the war-torn country, a monitoring group reported.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 16 people, including eight children, were killed when government helicopters dropped explosives-packed barrels on Tel Rifaat on the northern edge of Aleppo province.
The watchdog said the helicopters also killed eight civilians, including five from one family, with barrel bombs in the village of Latamneh on the northern fringe of Hama province.
The Syrian government has in recent years stepped up aerial attacks using barrel bombs against the rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
The latest surge in the government’s air raids came after Bashar al-Assad’s overstretched troops suffered a series of setbacks by rebels, mainly jihadists.
Human rights organisations have repeatedly condemned the use of barrel bombs, saying they are indiscriminate in their targeting, cause many civilian casualties and that their use constitutes a war crime.
According to activists, no fewer than 220,000 people are estimated to have been killed in Syria’s conflict since it started in March 2011. (dpa/NAN)