Nightly News   |  December 17, 2013

Barrel bombs terrorize Syrians

Aleppo was struck again on Tuesday with barrel bombs, dropped by government forces from helicopters. In Syria, fear has infiltrated daily life, with millions driven from their homes. NBC’s Keir Simmons reports.

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>>> inside syria tonight, hospitals in the city of aleppo are said to be overwhelmed with victims of the assad regimes's assault from the air on its own citizens. violence committed by both sides in this war has terrorized all those caught in the middle . we have a report tonight on some of the families and children at risk from nbc's keir simmons who is on the ground in damascus .

>> reporter: this is the face of the war in syria , and this is the awful reality. children are increasingly its victims. killed and injured on both sides. in this case in aleppo, struck again today by barrel bombs, a chilling weapon packed with nails, steals, gasoline, dropped by government forces from helicopters at close range in crowded urban neighborhoods killing indiscriminately and terrorizing innocent civilians. an eyewitness told us what happened today at a bread line.

>> out of nowhere a bomb hit the area and as many as close to 40 people have died, including children and women .

>> reporter: an increasingly dirty war where fear stalks everyone.

>> it is the fear. it is the fear of when the conflict will come to them. it's the fear of what will happen to their family, the children, the women.

>> reporter: millions of syrians have been driven from their homes. damascus is packed with those who have fled. smiles for the camera, but privately people share blood-curdling stories and rumors of extremists opposed to the government carrying out executions of entire families. war is now part of life here. as we're filming there's a power cutoff. nothing unusual. they have seen far worse. just a few weeks ago, people were going about their ordinary business shopping in this ancient market when a mortar bomb fell in this very street that. bomb injured one man. mortars don't compare to the destruction of barrel bombs, but the fear they sow is just as real. syria is a broken country, and across the divide are civilians on both sides, terrified. keir simmons , nbc news, damascus .