Aleppo — Two barrel bombs were dropped by a helicopter on a wake ceremony for children in Syria, killing at least sixteen people.
The attendants were mourning children killed in another barrel bomb attack on Thursday, on the neighborhood of Bab al-Nayrab, controlled by the rebels. According to Al Jazeera, at least thirty others were wounded. Ibrahim al-Hajj, media center director at a volunteer rescue group, claimed the “first round” came in the midst of the funeral. Afterward, the survivors ran towards a shelter, when another round of barrel bombs was released, injuring them.
The Aleppo Media Center has reported a bigger death toll of twenty-four fatalities. Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has stated that eleven children were among the casualties.
Another activist, Mojahed Abo-Aljood, from Aleppo Media Center, was recording the wake when he was warned over a walkie-talkie about a helicopter coming closer.
He ran and hid in a basement, and went out again after hearing the two explosions. Abo-Aljood then continued recording, this time, the devastation caused by the barrel bombs.
“On my right and on my left I saw dead people, and I stepped on top of one myself because I couldn’t see due to the thickness of dust,” stated the activist.
On Thursday, a household in Bab al-Nairab was targeted by the barrel bombs, killing at least fifteen women and children, all belonging to the same family.
The victims were reportedly having breakfast at the time of the attack. Other bombs fell on different parts of the neighborhood. Human rights activists recorded the incident and posted the videos online.
In one particularly harrowing video, a man is sitting outside his demolished house, while stating “I lost my five children, oh God”, and forbidding residents from walking over the debris, as to no “step over them.”
In another recording, a woman screams at the dead body of her child, “my sons, your brother is dead; your brother is dead.”
Death rates keep growing in Aleppo
The death toll in Aleppo keeps rising. Over the past two years, almost thirteen thousand civilians have died, including nearly five thousand children. According to the International Red Cross, the city is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the August death toll increased to 448, including one hundred children. Aleppo is a strategic point and the largest city in the country with the (before the war) bigger economy.
The city was seized in July 2012 by the rebels, which caused distress within the government’s ranks. This is why the regime is trying with all its forces to win it back.
Omran Daqneesh: the new face of a war
Last year, the photography of the washed up body of Alan Kurdi, 3, caused a commotion within the international media and became the face of the refugee crisis.
Kurdi and his family were Syrian refugees trying to reach Europe to move to Canada. They paid $5,860 for space on a boat that would go from Turkey to the Greek island of Kos.
However, the small rubber boat crowded with refugees sank. Kurdi and another boy drowned. Recently, another young child has become the face of the Syrian war.
The picture was taken by Mahmoud Rslan, a 27-year-old who used to manage a pastry shop before the start of the war and now functions as a war photographer.
Dr. Mohammad (not his real name), has been a surgeon in Aleppo for the past twelve years. He is the one that tended at Daqneesh when he was taken to the hospital codenamed M10.
According to the physician, Daqneesh did not spoke the whole night, and his family did not appear in the hospital in which he was admitted with other four injured children.
Daqneesh was discharged after two hours because the hospital “didn’t have any psychologists to treat the shock.” Days later, the boy’s brother, Ali Daqneesh, 10, died at the M10 thanks to the injuries he sustained during the attack.
What are barrel bombs?
Barrel bombs are oil drums filled with shrapnel and explosives, which are usually dropped down by helicopters. Only in 2014, barrel bombs were responsible for over three thousand deaths in Aleppo, according to Amnesty International.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has consistently denied any use of barrel bombs by the government, but Amnesty International claims that they are commonly used as a war tactic.