UK Foreign Minister: Assad lied about barrel bombs

Hammond says new footage of barrel bomb attacks in Syria reveals Assad’s ‘lies’

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has condemned Syrian regime President Bashar al Assad after video footage emerged showing regime soldiers dropping barrel bombs on civilian areas in the northern city of Aleppo.

The footage was published by Al Jazeera after it was found on the mobile phone of a Syrian soldier after the helicopter from which the bombs were being dropped was shot down.

Syrian President Bashar al Assad had previously denied accusation that his forces were targeting civilians indiscriminately with barrel bombs, saying in an interview with the BBC that the government does not even own any barrels.

However, the new footage shows a Syrian soldier lighting a barrel bomb from his airborne helicopter before pushing it out, sending it hurtling to the ground.

Shortly after the footage was broadcast on Tuesday night, British Foreign Secretary Hammond wrote on his official Twitter page that Assad’s “lies” had been “exposed in shocking new footage of Syrian regime airmen lighting and dropping barrel bombs.”

In a later statement published on the UK government’s website, Hammond was quoted saying the video “shows the casual and indiscriminate way in which Syrian regime forces are dropping these horrific weapons out of helicopters onto civilians below. For months we have seen reports of barrel bombs hitting hospitals and schools, killing thousands.”

“The UN has called for an end to these attacks but Assad continues to ignore international outrage. We will bring those involved in these criminal acts to justice and will continue to help those caught in attacks by continuing our support of rescue teams working on the ground,” he added.

According to Amnesty International, at least 11,000 people have been killed by barrel bombs in Syria since 2012, with around 85 deaths recorded from such attacks in the past month alone.

Due the the indiscriminate nature of barrel bomb attacks, their use is considered to be against international law.

TRTWorld and agencies