Syrian government forces and insurgents have both committed abuses in the contested northern city of Aleppo, but some of the government’s actions amount to crimes against humanity, an international rights group said Tuesday. Aleppo, once Syria’s largest city and commercial capital, has been a major battleground in the country’s civil war since rebels launched
an assault there in mid-2012 that ultimately left the city carved into government- and opposition-held halves. The fighting over the past three years has leveled neighborhoods, touched off a humanitarian crisis and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. In a new report, Amnesty International sharply condemned the government’s reliance on barrel bombs – large canisters packed with explosives and scrap metal – against rebel-held neighborhoods in Aleppo. The military’s campaign has brought “sheer terror and unbearable suffering,” Amnesty said, and forced many civilians “to eke out an existence underground to escape the relentless aerial bombardment.” Amnesty said barrel bomb attacks have killed more than 3,000 civilians in Aleppo governorate last year, and more than 11,000 in the country since 2012.