Monitor says Syria drops barrel bombs despite U.S. warning; Syria denies

Monitor says Syria drops barrel bombs despite U.S. warning; Syria denies

Monitor says Syria drops barrel bombs despite U.S. warning; Syria denies

The Syrian Human Rights Watch said Syrian government warplanes fired cannon bombs into rebel-controlled areas in Hama province on Tuesday, a day after the United States said its use could lead to further US strikes In Syria.

A Syrian military source denied the Observatory report and said the army did not use cannon bombs – drums or cylinders filled with explosives and shrapnel that cause indiscriminate destruction on the ground.

The United States fired cruise missiles at a Syrian air base last week in response to a poisonous gas attack in a northwestern city of Syria, which Washington has attributed to government forces. The Syrian government denies responsibility.

The Observatory said that “a number” of cannon bombs had been dropped on the cities of Taybat al-Imam and Soran north of the city of Hama, in an area where rebel groups, led by jihadist factions, launched a major offensive last month.

Observatory director Rami Abdulrahman said relatively few barrel bombs were thrown. UN investigators have recorded the regular use of such bombs by government forces in Syria.

The Syrian army said it had attacked “terrorist groups in northern Hama” near Soran, killing “a large number” of militants and destroying weapons, including four tanks, artillery and rocket launchers. He did not say what kind of weapons the army used.

Monitor says Syria drops barrel bombs despite U.S. warning; Syria denies

White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday mentioned the cannon bombs along with poison gas as weapons that were causing “babies and children” to suffer. “If you spend a baby, if you put a barrel bomb on innocent people … you will see an answer from this president,” he said.

The Syrian military source said: “We do not use these barrels and they do not exist in the Syrian Arab army.”

Army operations continued throughout Syria and “will not stop,” the sources said.

A military commander in the alliance fighting in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the army and allied forces launched an operation north of the city of Aleppo on Tuesday.

“The Syrian army and its allies today began a military operation, along several fronts, to gain control of the hills and some villages,” said the commander, a non-Syrian, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Assad has been backed by the six-year war by Russia, Iran and Shiite militias from countries like Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan.

“It is a limited military operation that aims to isolate a focal point for militants in the north of the country” and reduce the bombing of Nubl and Zahra, two rebel-besieged Shi’ite villages in Idlib province, the commander said.

The Observatory said government forces bombed several rebel-controlled areas north of Aleppo and collided with insurgents in the countryside.

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