Apocalypse Aleppo: How an obscene array of weapons – that destroy internal organs, stick to skin and burn at 2,200F and suffocate victims with smoke – is turning Syria’s second largest city into a slaughter house
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
- Barrel bombs: Cylindrical containers packed with up to 1,000kg of explosives dropped from helicopters
- An estimated 5,000 to 6,000 barrel bombs used in the civil war so far accounting for up to 10,000 deaths
- Napalm bombs: Developed during World War II oily substance sticks to the skin and burns at up to 2,200F
- The use of napalm bombs have been reported widely around Syria – including last weekend in Aleppo
- Thermobaric bombs: Devastatingly powerful and the most potent weapon aside from a nuclear warhead
- It sucks all the oxygen from around the blast point and destroys all internal organs of anyone nearby
- Cluster Bombs: A weapon that releases several small bomblets inflicting huge damage on a wider area
- Nearly 50 cluster bomb attacks were reported during the months of June and July, many of which in Aleppo
- Phosphorus bomb: Incendiary toxic bombs that spontaneously ignite at 30C typically targeted at people
- The weapon causes horrific burns which melt flesh and suffocate victims with fumes and lots of smoke
Aleppo was once revered as a World Heritage Site, an ancient city boasting historic citadels, schools and souks, whose status and wealth were founded upon its fortunate location near Turkey’s border in the north of Syria.
Today, however, it is better known for being the world’s charnel house.
No longer a centre of culture and trade, it is a place of extreme violence and death, a hell in which explosives, chemicals and fire rain from the sky, killing and burying alive its inhabitants in their hundreds, with many more maimed or made homeless.
For four long years Syrian government forces have besieged and pulverised the city, intent on crushing enemy rebels who have made large swathes of it their base.
But in those rebel-held areas live an estimated 300,000 civilians and daily there have been terrible images of destruction and death, of their bloodied children being dragged from rubble, of innocent families in despair as they seek medical help for their loved ones.
Over the last week the bombardment has dramatically escalated.
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, backed by the ruthless air-power of his ally President Putin as well as by Iranian forces, has launched an aerial assault of cataclysmic proportions.
A ground attack to capture the city began two days ago.
Russian and Syrian jets, helicopters and rocket launchers have, for hour upon hour, been carpeting civilian areas of Aleppo with barrel bombs, which spray shrapnel and chemicals over large areas, and with cluster bombs containing deadly incendiary substances such as white phosphorus and napalm.
They have even unleashed brutal ground-penetrating ‘thermobaric’ weapons which suck the oxygen out of the air and from people’s lungs to create an intensely hot explosion, and whose effects are so devastating they have been described as the most powerful explosive apart from a nuclear bomb.
Syrian man carries a baby after removing him from the rubble of a destroyed building following a reported air strike in the Qatarji neighbourhood of the northern city of Aleppo
A wounded Syrian child is rushed into a hospital after she was hit by mortar shells that targeted Aleppo’s government controlled Aziziyah and Suleimaniyah neighbourhoods on Thursday