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Syria : Barrage of Barrel Bombs

A barrel bomb is a type of improvised explosive device (IED). Sometimes described as a "flying IED", they are typically made from a barrel that has been filled with high explosives, with possibly shrapnel, oil orchemicals, and then dropped from a helicopter or airplane. Due to the large amount of explosives that can be packed into a barrel, their poor accuracy and indiscriminate use in populated civilian areas (including refugee camps), the resulting detonations have been devastating. Critics have characterized them as weapons of terror and illegal under international conventions.

The earliest known use was in South Sudan in the 1990s, where they were rolled out of cargo-doors of transport planes. Barrel bombs have been used extensively by the Syrian Air Force during the Syrian Civil War and later by the Iraqi forces during Anbar clashes. Experts believe they will continue to be embraced by unstable nations fighting insurgencies since they are cheap to make and leverage the advantages of a government's air-power.

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