Syria Targeting Civilians With Crude Bombs, Watchdog Reports

Global chemical weapons watchdog to investigate allegations of recent chlorine gas attacks by Assad's forces.

Clashes in Aleppo, Syria
A Free Syrian Army fighter fires towards forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Assad, during heavy clashes in the old city of Aleppo April 27, 2014. Reuters

The international Human Rights Watch said in a report Tuesday that the Syrian government is indiscriminately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure with crude bombs in rebel-held districts of the northern city of Aleppo.

The New York-based group said its activists have documented 85 locations in Aleppo's opposition-held districts that government aircraft shelled with barrel bombs — makeshift, shrapnel-packed explosive devices rolled out of helicopters.

According to the reports, the attacks occurred between February 22 and April 2.

HRW activists identified the locations after interviewing witnesses and analyzing satellite imagery and video and photographic evidence.

Also on Tuesday, the global chemical weapons watchdog overseeing the destruction of Syria's toxic stockpile said it will send a fact-finding mission to Syria to investigate allegations by rebels and activists of chlorine gas attacks.

The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said in a statement the Syrian government had agreed to accept the mission and had promised to provide security in areas under its control.

Rebels fighting President Bashar Assad's rule have said the Syrian government has used chlorine gas in attacks during the civil war, which is entering its fourth year.

The UN Security Council is meeting on Wednesday to review whether Syria's warring sides are complying with a resolution demanding the cessation of the use of barrel bomb and other weapons in populated areas.