Russia has killed more civilians in Syria than the Islamic State since Moscow began air strikes last year, a report from the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) reveals.
Russian attacks have killed approximately 2,704 civilians since its forces intervened in Syria last September. In comparison, ISIS has killed 2,686 civilians since it began its rise three years ago. SNHR’s report noted that a startling amount of those killed by Russian forces were children, approximately 746.
“The Russian regime has terrorized and massacred the Syrian people and surpassed the extremist group ISIS,” stated the report. “The states that are allying with Russia must immediately take into consideration these statistics. We have said over and over that the Syrian people [see] Russia as a murderer enemy.”
The Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) noted in a statement provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation that Russian strikes “disproportionately” target civilian areas, such as schools and hospitals.
“These actions are in violation of Russia’s legal obligations under the Geneva Conventions, including the additional protocols and constitute war crimes,” said the HNC statement.
“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 area when the Russian strike took place on December 7, 2015. “All the victims and wounded were civilians,” he said.
Mohammad al-Khatib, a media activist near the town of Einjara, described another alleged Russian attack on a school Jan. 11. He arrived on the scene of a Russian missile strike on a classroom 90 minutes after it occurred.
“Residents told me that they pulled only four dead bodies and lost about 15 others who were reduced to shreds, including the female teacher of the targeted area,” Khatib told SNHR.
The report includes several first hand accounts, videos and pictures of the wanton destruction caused by indiscriminate Russian bombing. Among several other recommendations, the SNHR called upon the United Nations Security Council to take action against the Russian Federation, including prosecuting war criminals in the International Criminal Court (ICC). Additionally, the organization calls for further sanctions against Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has actively supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Russia has consistently denied killing civilians in its airstrikes, despite substantial evidence presented by multiple organizations. Russian officials have gone as far as to say they “do not even plan” any strikes that might kill civilians.
The United Nations’ estimated in April that as many as 400,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war since it began five years ago, though that number is now likely to be significantly higher.
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