, BEIRUT, February 2, 2014 (AFP) – Regime air raids using explosives-packed barrels on the northern Syrian city of Aleppo killed at least 85 people on Saturday, a monitoring group said.
“At least 85 people were killed, including 65 civilians, 10 of whom were children,” when government helicopters dropped barrel bombs on rebel-held areas of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday.
Attacks using the controversial weapon targeted several areas of the city, once Syria’s economic capital, with 34 of the dead in the Tareq al-Bab area alone.
The Observatory said 10 of those killed in Saturday’s raids were jihadists from the Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate, Al-Nusra Front, who were in their headquarters when it was hit. Another 10 bodies could not be identified.
Aleppo city has been divided since rebels launched a huge offensive in mid-2012, and heavy fighting between the two sides has left swathes of the city in ruins.
The aerial assault came the day after peace talks in Geneva between the Syrian government and the opposition ended without achieving concrete results.
Regime forces recently launched an offensive on rebel-held areas in the east of the city, with Syrian Defence Minister General Fahd al-Freij visiting parts of northern Aleppo province on Friday.