Current Affairs Military Politics

Barrel Bomb Attacks On Darayya, Damascus

Some ASF readers may have heard of the airborne”barrel bombs” deployed by the pro-Assad forces in the Syrian civil war, primarily for use against targets in the country’s towns and cities. The improvised – and entirely indiscriminate – weapons are normally dropped from helicopters, progressing in design from metal barrels filled with explosives and shrapnel manhandled out of the door of a circling aircraft to more advanced methods of mechanical release and and delivery. The images above were captured by a cameraman in the Darayya district of Damascus, a suburb of the capital fought over since 2011 and presently in Opposition hands again (primarily through the efforts of the al-Nusra Front or its affiliates). It shows several barrel bombs falling from a helicopter, almost certainly a Russian-supplied Mil Mi-24 variant, followed by a massive explosion as they hit their target. The dreadful consequences for those on the ground can only be imagined.

Bellingcat has more on the partisan intervention by the Russian federation into the Syrian conflict:

“Bellingcat began geolocating and independently verifying videos published by the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) after initial reports from the ground indicated that Russian airstrikes destroyed positions held by the Free Syrian Army and other groups rather than the Islamic State (or ISIS). Bellingcat has geolocated, verified, and visualized each airstrike published by the Russian MoD on its official YouTube channel as of 25 October. The outcome of our work is unequivocal: the overwhelming majority of Russian airstrikes have targeted positions held by non-ISIS rebel groups posing a more immediate threat to the Syrian regime and its head, Bashar al-Assad. In contrast, ISIS strongholds have rarely been attacked: out of 60 strikes recorded on video, only one has been confirmed to be both at the location indicated by the MoD and against ISIS; 14 other strikes said to target ISIS were, indeed, geolocated to the claimed locations, but none of those areas are known to be under ISIS control.”

9 comments on “Barrel Bomb Attacks On Darayya, Damascus

  1. Lord of Mirkwood

    Putin’s goal in propping up Assad is to show that totalitarian dictatorship can work. I desperately want Assad and ISIS to lose, but at the same time I don’t want any more American boots on the ground in the Middle East. War has been a drain on our national budget for this whole millennium, quite literally.

    • The problem, as well, is the argument that if the US can intervene in the Middle East why not any other power? How can the United States object to Russian action when many of its action in Iraq, Syria, Libya, etc. had dubious UN or international sanction. The US actions in Pakistan, Yemen, etc. are clearly outside international law but no one can challenge them. Its back to the proxy-wars of the Cold War decades, with the Middle East and Africa as the plaything of the great powers.

  2. The more I think of it the more that whole massive WMD lie to justify Iraqi invasion makes my blood boil. Not alone did those clowns destabilise the whole region but they broke that fine line between manipulating and intervening. As has been said above, the basis for the moral authority to condemn Russia has been destroyed.
    It really and truly was an act of war criminality.
    Russia is a basket-case under Putin. I hope he falls off his horse and dies soon as he seems hell bent on pushing dangerous buttons. To be fair though barrel bombs seem tame enough.

    • I agree, Bradhar. The events of the early 2000s have made the Middle East a free-for-all. It’s very hard now for any state in the so-called “Coalition” ( as once was) to protest the intervention of other states in the region given their past record.

  3. It never ceases to amaze me how people still fall for the stories concerning Putin. Especially when these stories normally emanate from the same sources that spread the wmd lies.
    A blind man can see there is a push to overthrow sovereign governments in the Middle East. And the common denominator with these targeted countries is their refusal to bend to western influence. A country should have the right to decide for itself without external interference. Other brutal regimes in that region are treated differently as long as they doff the cap to the west. Why anyone would question why some countries around the world reject western influence is beyond me. History has taught people that the west isn’t truly interested in the wellbeing of these nations. So to simply target them under whatever guise be it wmd’s or humanitarian reasons is underhand to say the least. To hear western politicians pontificate human rights abuses of other non conformist nations is laughable. Be in no doubt these same chancers would crush any dissent or rebellion in their own land. We in Ireland have witnessed this up to the present day.
    I don’t know China,Russia,Iran etc and its people that well only what(biased?) western news agencies claim. But there must be some contentment with their rulers otherwise there would be a lot more disturbances etc. Apparently Putin is hugely popular amongst his people although you will always get folk who dislike him, much the same in any country. But what I do know is Putin has twice now, tried to prevent NATO terrorism from wrecking Syria entirely just like it did to Libya. Thousands of Libyans were killed due to their intervention and what’s left now is a basket case of a country. Ironically enough these ‘rogue’ nations tend to be quite liberal compared to Arabia,Bahrain etc but we are led to believe otherwise.
    Bush,Blair,Cameron and Obama I would say at a guess have been responsible for killing more people than anything Putin has done and yet we excuse it and even allow Hilary Clinton and that paedophile loving excuse for a man prince Charles label Putin worse than Hitler. The irony is lost on some people. I am sure a Russian or Iranian native is gobsmacked by this hypocrisy. I am gobsmacked that people still heed the utterings of the righteous west after their track record. There’s none so blind………

    • Whatever reservations one might have about Obama – and they are pretty big in terms of drone-strikes, targeted assassinations, and secret armies doing reprehensible things in dark places – he surely can’t be compared to Putin? The latter will be in office for as long as he wishes or can hold on to power. Obama will be gone relatively soon, via the mechanism of the ballot box.

      Russia’s activities in Ukraine or the states of the Caucasus are every bit as bad as the US’s across the globe, but two wrongs do not make a right. The United States cannot be compared to the Russian Federation.

      • ‘The United States cannot be compared to the Russian federation’, that’s a confident declaration. So which one is bad and which one is good? The US or the Russian federation? When Russia starts listing rogue nations around the world then perhaps we can compare them to the US.
        Could you speculate how Muslim countries view the US compared to Russia prior to the Syria intervention. Would they have agreed with your declaration? After all one of them has been knocking out countries like skittles on a whim and the odd lie.
        The terror of drone warfare etc for example that Obama has embraced elevates him way above Putin. Putin may be a complete monster but unlike Hilary,Obama etc i havnt watched him uttering carefree quips about death of people via drones or the brutal rape and murder of individuals they don’t like(Gadaffi)for the cameras?

  4. It’s pretty obvious what the west – in conjunction with Israel – is up to in Syrian and elsewhere: send in agent provocateurs, mercenaries and various useful idiots to create mayhem – then when the governments being attacked respond with force of their own, the western corporate media (controlled to a man and woman by the CIA and MI5/MI6) start screaming hysterically about governments “attacking their own people”. It worked in Ukraine Libya and Iraq, but it’s come unstuck in Syria, thank God.

    • However the initial Opposition in Syria was largely a local and spontaneous one. It largely did not come through the machinations of foreign state-actors. That came later. And what benefit was a disunited Syria to the CIA or MI6? The impression is not of manipulation but utter confusion, contradictory actions, mismanagement and an inability to cope. Syria is everyone’s mess and no one as yet knows what to do about it – or even if they particularly want to do anything about it.

      The recent peace talks – minus the Syrians themselves – was a tragic-comic farce.

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