Russian airstrikes kill dozens of civilians in Syria

Russian airstrikes kill dozens of civilians in Syria
Russian airstrikes on Deir Az-Zour and Aleppo provinces killed at least 44 civilians on Wednesday, raising the number of civilians killed by Russian raids in January to 471.
2 min read
28 January, 2016
More than 471 civilians were killed in Russian airstrikes in January alone [Anadolu]
At least 44 civilians were killed on Wednesday in suspected Russian air raids in areas of northern and eastern Syria under the control of the Islamic State group, it has emerged.

Russian airstrikes killed 29 civilians in Deir Az-Zour province and 15 civilians in and around the city of Al-Bab in Aleppo province on Wednesday, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said.

The SOHR said that 471 people, including 127 children and 56 women, have been killed in Russian air raids since the beginning of January. The Syrian regime forces, meanwhile, killed 211 civilians, including 30 children, in aerial bombardment including the use of "barrel bombs", according the monitoring group.

If these figures are accurate, the Russian air forces have killed more than double the number of civilians and four times the number of children than President Bashar al-Assad's troops have so far this year.

Read more: A reluctant friendship - Syria's rebels and al-Qaeda's local franchise

Syrian opposition groups have accused Moscow of mainly targeting moderate rebels fighting the Assad regime as well as inflicting civilian casualties, a view shared by many Western governments. Moscow, however, insists it is tackling "terrorist" groups such as the Islamic State group.

"Since the Russian bombing campaign began, over 1,100 civilians have been killed. They claim they have helped recapture parts of Idlib, Latakia and Aleppo from IS, but IS was not in these areas except for in a few villages," Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told The New Arab on Thursday.

"In fact, the Russians have helped the regime move forward against the Syrian opposition, not only IS, and opposition groups have suffered as a result," Abdulrahman added.