Researchers have strong evidence that bombs in Syria were targeting civilians, including women and children.
In the past seven years, barrel bombs have killed civilians almost exclusively, scientists in Belgium report Wednesday. Civilians comprised 97 percent of the deaths from these bombs.
"That is a very big deal," says Debarati Guha-Sapir, an epidemiologist at the Universite Catholique de Louvain in Brussels, who led the study. "Killing 97 percent [of] civilians is not 'collateral damage.' Governments are either missing combatants on purpose, or they have very inept war strategies."
The study also finds a dramatic rise in the number of children killed as the war has progressed.