National Security

Children Make Up More Than 25 Percent Of Syrians Killed By Russia

REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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Children make up over 25 percent of the civilians killed by Russian airstrikes, according to a report by a Syrian human rights organization.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) released a report Friday that claimed Russian airstrikes in Syria killed approximately 2,704 civilians, 746 of which are children. In just over 11 months, Russia killed more Syrian civilians than the Islamic State killed in three years.

The report documents several examples of Russian transgressions against civilians, many of which appear to be intentional, and have little or no military purpose. Many of the examples provided in the report show a Russian penchant for targeting schools.

“Russian warplanes bombed a building that we were [using] to educate children in the neighborhood,” Abu al-Fatih, a resident of Aleppo’s al-Hollok neighborhood, told the SNHR. “The bombing was at a time when students were leaving their classrooms, which led to a number of deaths among children and the teaching staff.”

Fatih noted that there were no legitimate military targets in the surrounding area when the attack occurred Dec. 7, 2015. He noted that several ethnic Turkmen-Syrians live in the neighborhood.

“I think the Russian bombing deliberately targeted the neighborhood as a retaliation for the Russian warplane that was shot down by Turkey,” explained Fatih.


One month later, a Russian attack on three schools in the Einjara district of Aleppo left 17 people dead, 15 of whom were students. Russian jets targeted an elementary school and two high schools. Mohammad al-Khatib, a media activist who witnessed the aftermath of the attack, described the scene in vivid detail.

“A teacher told me that a massacre happened at the western school after it was targeted with a missile by a Russian warplane, I went there. The missile fell in a classroom that was destroyed completely,” said Khatib. “Residents told me they pulled only four dead bodies and lost about 15 others who were reduced to shreds including the female teacher of the targeted classroom.”

Russian bombing strikes are ongoing, despite failed diplomatic attempts to secure a cessation. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been complicit in Russian air strikes more recently, allowing fighters and bombers to stage attacks from an airbase in the Hamadan region.

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