first published on September 1, 2018 by Josh
It is incredibly difficult to discern fact from fiction when dealing with the Syrian Civil War. On the surface, a raging proxy war is being waged between Russia, The United States, the Syrian Arab Army, and the multi-faced opposition force comprised of Free Syrian Army fighters, and a multitude of closet terror organizations. Below the surface level of the conflict, there is an ever widening divide caused by an all out propaganda war being waged by all factions involved with the on-going Civil War. For that reason, when videos like the one at the bottom of this article are released we have to trust our eyes over what is published from the organizations on the ground who is trying to sway public opinion in their favor.
When this video was initially discovered, it had an Arabic tagline that roughly translated to “Four Regime Barrel Bombs in Darayya Syria Cause Massive Explosion.” Upon further inspection, it is unclear if that is exactly the case, or if this is a re-uploaded video of a Russian airstrike in support of maneuvering Syrian Regime ground forces. The video has over 230,000 views on YouTube with a comments section that damns the regime for their use of barrel bombs.
Thinking of Regime Barrel Bombings in Syria conjures up images seen early on in the Syrian Civil War, and even later during the conflict before Russia fully committed assets to the Regime’s war efforts. What you think of are helicopters flying low over a city with crew chiefs in the back rolling out 55-gallon drums packed with military explosives and chemical compounds (LINK to this happening). In the case of this video however, what you see is something completely different than what would be seen early on in the conflict in the case of actual barrel bombings against civilians.
The video, a brief 30 second clip of an airstrike leveling an entire city block, appears to show what sounds like jets conducting an airstrike with unguided dumb bombs. If you slow the video down, you can also see what appears to be dumb bombs impacting with the target location. Stack on top of this the fact that the explosion itself looks like conventional military warheads exploding, and what you see with your own two eyes is a fairly conventional airstrike against what is most likely a legitimate military target, right?
It’s hard to say for sure, and that’s where the confusion truly comes into play. While the organization that released this video is a pro-rebel media agency that completely mis-titled the video in an attempt to create outrage and gain more logistical support, it’s impossible for us to know what the legitimate military target was unless the agency flying the aircraft has a log of what the airstrike was for, and can release the information that reveals why the airstrike was required. Asking this of any conventional, slow moving military force however, would net you absolutely no information. Forcing that information to be a requirement would grind war efforts to a halt as you would be placing handcuffs on fighter pilots who need to drop ordinance in order to advance their ground forces.
It is certainly a sticky situation in Syria. Confusing in the essence of you have no idea who is fighting who, and why they are doing it in the first place at this point. Even more confusing in the fact that information and media is being released at such an alarming and cyclic rate that it is impossible for any agency to 100% verify what they are showing is fact and not misinformation released by one side or the other to push an agenda. For this reason alone, we have to take media coming from the region not at the face value as it is released, but as the factual evidence presented in the media. When you view the clip below, are you watching an airstrike being carried out against a legitimate military target, or are you watching barrel bombs rolled out of the back of helicopters onto civilians?