Syrian regime rains barrel bombs on Aleppo

Civil Defence members, rebel fighters and civilians search for survivors at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in al-Qarlaq neighbourhood of Aleppo on May 29, 2014. -- PHOT
Civil Defence members, rebel fighters and civilians search for survivors at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in al-Qarlaq neighbourhood of Aleppo on May 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIRUT (AFP) - Syrian forces rained barrels bombs on Aleppo on Thursday, as they pressed a campaign against rebels in the northern city where dozens have been killed this week, a monitor said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said jihadist fighters executed 15 civilians in the north-eastern province of Hasakeh.

The Observatory said two people were killed in one raid that struck the rebel-held Aleppo neighbourhood of Al-Shaar.

Regime helicopters dropped barrel bombs on several districts that are in rebel hands, the monitoring group said.

Barrel bombs killed at least 58 civilians on Tuesday and Wednesday, including 15 children, while seven civilians were killed on Monday.

Aleppo has been split into areas held by the regime and opposition since shortly after fighting broke out in Syria's former economic hub in 2012.

Warplanes have waged an aerial offensive on the eastern, rebel-held districts since mid-December, frequently dropping barrel bombs and killing hundreds.

The use of barrel bombs - barrels packed with explosives and scrap metal - has been condemned by the international community and human rights organisation.

The UN has called on Syria to end bombardments of residential areas with barrel bombs.

In Hasakeh, meanwhile, at least seven children were among those shot dead by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant near the town of Ras al-Ain, the Observatory said.

Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said it was not clear what prompted the killings, which he described as a "war crime". Loyalist forces have made advances on the ground against rebels battling to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, thanks to support from fighters of Lebanon's Hizbollah movement.