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(MENAFN – The Peninsula) The UN envoy to Syria condemned regime bombing of civilian areas as “totally unacceptable” after more than 90 people were killed in a day of heavy air raids.
Across the border in Iraq, pro-government forces pressed their operation aimed at sealing off jihadists who captured the city of Ramadi two weeks ago.
In Syria, barrel bombs dropped by President Bashar al-Assad’s helicopters killed 71 civilians, including children, in the northern province of Aleppo on Saturday, a monitoring group said.
“The news of aerial bombing by Syrian helicopters on a civilian area of the Aleppo neighbourhood of Al-Shaar deserves the most strong international condemnation,” UN envoy Staffan de Mistura said in a statement.
“The use of barrel bombs must stop,” he said. “All evidence shows that the overwhelming majority of the civilian victims in the Syrian conflict have been caused by the use of such indiscriminate aerial weapons.”
He said it was “totally unacceptable that the Syrian airforce attacks its own territory in an indiscriminate way, killing its own citizens.”
More than 220,000 people have been killed in Syria since March 2011 demonstrations spiralled into a complex civil war.
Several rounds of peace talks have made no headway and the UN envoy’s efforts to broker a ceasefire in the second city of Aleppo were rejected by rebel factions.
At least 20 more civilians were killed in regime air strikes Saturday on a rebel-dominated area in the northwestern province of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
“The regime’s planes have committed another massacre, this time in Jabal al-Zawiya,” the Observatory said, adding many wounded were in critical condition.
After Saturday’s barrel bomb attacks on the rebel-held Al-Shaar neighbourhood of Aleppo, victims’ bodies were laid out on the streets of the neighbourhood.
The limp blood-covered hand of one of them protruded from under a blanket, said an AFP correspondent at the scene.