U.N. voices outrage over Syria barrel-bomb attacks

Russia, Syria’s ally, joined in a statement from the 15-member council condemning 'all violence against civilians'

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The U.N. Security Council expressed outrage Friday over a recent wave of barrel-bomb attacks in Syria’s northern Aleppo province that have left scores dead.

Russia, Syria’s ally, joined in a statement from the 15-member council condemning “all violence against civilians, and civilian infrastructure, including medical facilities.”

The statement was issued following a behind-closed-doors report on Thursday by senior U.N. aid official John Ging, who said the attacks on Aleppo were continuing.

Ging estimated that some 3,600 people have been killed by barrel bombs in Aleppo alone since the beginning of the war, now in its fifth year, according to diplomats who attended the briefing.

The official reported that seven children were among 14 people who were killed in an attack on the day that he gave his report to the Security Council.

Council members “expressed outrage at all attacks against civilians, as well as indiscriminate attacks, including those involving shelling and aerial bombardment such as the use of barrel bombs, which have reportedly been extensively used in recent days,” the statement said.

The United States, Britain and France have accused President Bashar al-Assad’s forces of using barrel bombs -- crude weapons made of containers packed with explosives that are dropped from helicopters.

The three countries argue that only the Damascus regime has helicopters.

Assad has repeatedly denied using barrel bombs and has suggested in interviews that no such weaponry exists.

The council also condemned “increased terrorist attacks” by the Islamic State group, the Al-Qaeda-allied Al-Nusra Front and their affiliates and called on them to put an end to the violence.

More than 220,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government demonstrations that were met with a regime crackdown.