Russian airstrikes kill '640 Syrian civilians', claims opposition group

Russian airstrikes kill '640 Syrian civilians', claims opposition group
Hundreds of Syrian civilians have been killed in air raids by Russia's military, the Syrian National Coalition has said, marking the second month of the bombing campaign.
2 min read
01 December, 2015
Russian airstrikes have hit markets and residential areas says the SNC [Anadolu]

Russian airstrikes in Syria have killed 640 Syrian civilians claimed the Syrian National Coalition in a statement released on Monday, marking the second month of the bombing campaign.

"Yesterday saw the latest massacre caused by Russia's air force, when over 40 civilians were killed and many more injured in a Russian airstrike on a marketplace in the town of Ariha in rural Idlib," said the SNC statement.

According to figures gathered by the group's media office, "3,330 civilians across Syria have been killed since Russia and Iran stepped up their support to Assad last September.

"The number includes 640 civilians killed as a result of Russian bombardment," added the statement.

Moscow intensified its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by starting a campaign of airstrikes against rebel groups it describes as "terrorists" on 30 September, amid criticism that only a fraction of its airstrikes have been against the Islamic State group (IS).

The SNC said that, of the 3,668 sorties flown by the Russian air force, only six percent had targeted IS positions while the remaining 94 percent targeted "the Free Syrian Army and civilian populations in liberated areas".

The opposition umbrella group also accused Russia of using internationally banned weapons such as phosphorus bombs and cluster munitions.

"Russia must stop its aggression and completely withdraw its troops from Syria," said Riad Seif, a member of the SNC's General Assembly.

"The Russian aggression undermines international efforts aimed at resolving the conflict by reaching a political settlement," added Seif.

The SNC said that civilian targets hit by the Russian warplanes included three schools, 14 hospitals, two markets, a water treatment facility, a bus station, and pharmaceutical and food processing plants.