Assad orders Christmas Day strike on Islamic State territory

WASHINGTON - Forces loyal to embattled Syrian president Bashar Assad have dropped bombs on territory under the control of Islamic State militants, killing roughly 40 people, according to local reports.
Syrian Army helicopters used barrel bombs— barrels packed with explosives and metal shards, with no precision mechanism— to strike the areas of al-Bab and Qabaseen on Christmas Day and overnight.
Early reports did not clarify how many of the deceased were members of the Islamic State, a terrorist organization holding territory throughout eastern Syria and northern Iraq.
The United States has condemned Assad's use of barrel bombs throughout the war; the bombs are typically thrown out the back of helicopters without aim, thus making them an indiscriminate weapon, often dropped on heavily populated civilian areas.
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