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    A man operates a front loader as he removes debris at a site hit by what activists said were barrel bombs dropped by forces of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, at al-Thawra neighborhood in Idlib city April 20, 2015

    Assad Denies Using Devastating Barrel Bombs by Gov’t Forces in Syria

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    Syrian President Bashar Assad dismissed allegations that the government helicopters dropped highly explosive barrel bombs on Syrian cities, killing hundreds of civilians.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in April, human rights activists claimed that the Syrian regime conducted several barrel bomb attacks on Idlib governorate in March, affecting over 200 people. Human Rights Watch (HRW) cited photo and video evidence saying that up to six attacks involving use of toxic chemicals had been made.

    "We never use any armament that could be shelled indiscriminately. That's it," Assad said, speaking in the interview with France 2 on Monday. Assad added that Syrian army carried out only targeted attacks against terrorists.

    Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011. The country's government is fighting against several opposition and militant groups, including the Nusra Front and the Islamic State.

    In October 2013, Syria joined the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), pledging to destroy its nuclear arsenal. The OPCW reported in October 2014 that nearly 98 percent of chemical weapons removed from Syria had been destroyed.

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    Human Rights Watch, Idlib, Syria
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