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UN urged to pressure Syria on use of barrel bombs

In a letter to the UN Security Council, 71 countries have demanded that Syria stop its systematic use of barrel bombs. It comes amid the most deadly fighting in the more than four-year war.

Led by Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, the 71 signatories of the letter expressed outrage over the Syrian Air Force's use of barrel bombs - crudely made weapons consisting of oil barrels filled with explosives and scrap metal to cause maximum damage.

The bombs are also often unguided, causing them to kill a high number of civilians.

The month of May was "reportedly the deadliest month of the Syrian crisis so far," said a letter addressed to the president of the UN Security Council.

Barrel bombings in and around the northern city of

Aleppo had killed hundreds of civilians

and wounded dozens recently, "with many victims blown to pieces or burnt beyond recognition," the letter said. The attacks were "among the most brutal perpetrated since the start of the Syrian crisis."

Since the beginning of the war, "grisly and horrific" bombings of markets, hospitals, schools, places of worship and residential buildings have killed thousands, the letter said. The Syrian government denies the use of barrel bombs.

The signatories, which do not include China and Russia, demanded that the UN enforce its own resolutions.

Last year, the Security Council approved a resolution aimed at getting more humanitarian aid to Syria. It demands that all parties in Syria halt attacks against civilians and any indiscriminate use of weapons in populated areas, "including shelling and aerial bombardment, such as the use of barrel bombs."

At the end of May, a #link:18489215:UN envoy said the use of barrel bombs in Syria was "totally unacceptable" and "must stop."

So far, around 220,000 people have been killed in the war in Syria.

ng/jil (AP, AFP)

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