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Syrian air force strikes show worrying increase, civilian harm on rise

The Syrian air force has launched almost 1,600 strikes across Syria in the past month, killing at least 396 civilians, according to a leading human rights group.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war in Syria using sources on the ground, reported that at least 1,500 people were also wounded in the attacks.

The group said warplanes and helicopters dropping “barrel bombs”, steel drums full of shrapnel and explosives, had conducted raids since October 20. Areas affected in the Hama, Deraa, Idlib, Aleppo and Quneitra provinces as well as the Damascus countryside.

They also hit the eastern Deir al-Zor province, where US-led forces have been bombing Islamic State militants.

Disturbingly, Syrian government air strikes have increased since the US-led coalition started attacking Islamic State positions inside Syria in September.

Action on Armed Violence criticises absolutely the targeting of civilians with explosive weapons and calls out against the use of such weapons in populated areas. Or work on this matter can be read here.

We have catalogued the harm by explosive weapons in Syria in a number of reports, the highlights of which can be read in our work – Syria’s Dirty Dozen – or on video.