Residents of the Damascus suburb Daraya say that over the past few days they have seen explosive barrels being dropped from military aircraft. Not precision, military-grade missiles or bombs. Literally, barrels packed with explosives.
The Israeli website NRG reported on Monday that this video was posted on YouTube by locals who claim it shows barrels being dropped from a helicopter. TheBlaze is unable to verify most videos being posted online by local residents and opposition forces in Syria.
Residents of Daraya rreported heavy bombing over the weekend. Time magazine wrote that while part of the assault included “standard missile and mortar attacks,” the unorthodox barrel bomb was also dropped.
Time described the weapon as “an improvised bomb made of explosives stuffed into an oil barrel or similar receptacle and pushed out of a helicopter, the weapon’s seemingly Loony-Tunes [sic] origins conceals one of the most devastating and indiscriminate weapons in Assad’s arsenal. Packed with shrapnel and extra incendiaries like oil, and usually triggered on impact, the large payload all but guarantees widespread destruction.”
Ehud Ya’ari, Arab Affairs analyst for Israel’s Channel 2, reported on Monday, “Assad and the generals under him have concluded that explosive barrels are a more effective weapon than accurate missiles as part of the effort to break the spirit of the resistance and the resilience of the population.”
According to Time, the Syrian Army first used the barrel bombs in Homs in August of 2012. Last month, the BBC quoted the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which reported that explosive barrels dropped from Syrian aircraft had killed 517 in Aleppo during the last two weeks of 2013.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland described the devastating effects of the improvised weapon during her briefing with journalists a year earlier in December 2012.
“I would also say that we’re seeing use of another egregious weapon, this kind of barrel bomb, which is an incendiary bomb that contains flammable materials,” Nuland said. “It’s sort of a napalm-like thing, and it’s completely indiscriminate in terms of civilians, so very, very concerning and indicative of the regime’s desperation and the regime’s brutality.”
Time magazine pointed to this video which the opposition Daraya Revolution media site claimed shows the dropping of a barrel bomb this past weekend: