The Syrian Human Rights Network (SNHR) documented that the Bashar Assad regime in Syria targeted opposition-controlled civilian settlements last year 3,601 times with barrel bombs.
"At least 26,577 barrel bombs have been dropped by the Assad regime since the Russian intervention on Sept. 30, 2015, and at least 3,601 in 2018, during which the highest monthly figure was recorded in March, followed by April," the SNHR said in its monthly report issued yesterday.
According to the report, barrel bombs also killed 187 civilians, including 51 children and 55 women, along with numerous people forcefully displaced due to the bombs. In 2018, the regime used barrel bombs as a weapon on an intensive basis in the three de-escalation zones - namely northern Homs governorate, the governorates of Daraa and Quneitra, and eastern Ghouta - by targeting residential communities and inflicting frequent massacres and massive destruction. The report also underscored that the Syrian regime used barrel bombs filled with poisonous gas as a weapon in four attacks in 2018.
A number of these barrel bombs were used in attacks on vital civilian facilities. The report documented at least 35 attacks on vital civilian facilities, nine of which were on mosques, two on schools, one on an educational institute, 17 on medical facilities and one on a refugee camp.
The report added that no incidents recorded in the last quarter of the year, following the entry into force of the Sochi Agreement reached by Turkey and Russia in Sept. 2018 to ward off a regime offensive on the opposition enclave of Idlib and to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe there.
The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution in 2014 which condemned the use of barrel bombs; however, the Syrian regime has been continuing to expose areas outside of its control to a daily barrage of dozens of barrel bombs, despite repeatedly promising that it will end its use of the bombs. The report notes that the Syrian regime has been using these improvised, low-cost, highly effective weapons in order to kill as many victims as possible and inflict as much widespread destruction as possible.