Syrian Barrel Bomb Strikes Kill 50 in Northern Rebel Town

Bomb Missed Rebel HQ and Hit Crowded Market

A pair of barrel bomb strikes have hit the rebel-held town of al-Bab, in eastern Aleppo Province, over the weekend, killing at least 50 people including a number of civilians.

As the civil war drags on, the Syrian military has increasingly resorted to barrel bombs, makeshift munitions made of an oil barrel filled with explosives and rolled out of the back of an attack helicopter.

The barrel bombs are powerful, but notoriously inaccurate, and the bigger of the two strikes reportedly missed the rebel headquarters, landing in a nearby marketplace and killing many bystanders.

Rebels say that the use of barrel bombs has in the past preceded ground offensives against rebel-held towns, but there is so far no indication that an offensive is imminent.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.