Despite the evidence, Russia denies hurting Syrian infant Omran

Despite the evidence, Russia denies hurting Syrian infant Omran
Russia has denied bombing a Syrian boy's home who captured the heart of the world, despite evidence from witnesses, activists and human rights groups saying that Moscow frequently targets homes.
3 min read
19 Aug, 2016
Syrian infant Omran was badly hurt and injured in the Syrian bombing [AMC]

Days after a video showed a shocked, bloodied, dust-embalmed Syrian boy caused by a suspected Russian air raid, Moscow has gone on the defensive.  

The video of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh was filmed after a bomb struck an opposition area of Aleppo, and buried the boy under his home.

The Qaterji district has been frequently targeted by Russian and Syrian regime war planes since Moscow entered the war in September 2015.

Some activists and civilians have accused Russia of the attack. But in a statement released on Friday Moscow's war ministry denied responsibility and claimed it "never targets populated areas".

Instead, Moscow made the dubious claim that it was the rebels themselves have hit urban areas to derail "humanitarian efforts".

This is despite the rebels already saying they would agree to a 48-hour ceasefire in Aleppo, despite Moscow and Damascus repeatedly breaking previous truces.

Picture of pain

The ministry's "proof" relies on a flimsy claim that in the footage the door and windows of a neighbouring home were intact, it says.

Moscow says that this shows that the boy's house was not targeted by a bomb but a rebel mine.

The video of the stunned and petrified five-year-old boy has been widely shared on social media. It captured the heartache and never-ending carnage inflicted on Aleppo by regime and Russian bombs.

Russia has been accused by Syrians, activists and international human rights groups of indiscriminately pounding residential areas from the air.

The air force has also targeted moderate rebel groups fighting Moscow's ally President Bashar al-Assad as well as extremist outfit the Islamic State group.

Dozens of hospitals, schools and refugee camps have been hit by Russian and Syrian regime bombs, human rights groups say.

Doctors Without Borders - which operates hospitals in Syria - stopped giving its GPS coordinates to Russia after its medical facilities were repeatedly targeted by warplanes and surface-to-surface missiles.

Dumb bombs

Analysts say that Russia often uses rudimentary unguided bombs to target rebel areas. 

Activists and human rights groups say they have also uncovered proof that Moscow frequently uses banned cluster and incendiary bombs in Syria.

"The joint Syrian-Russian military operation has been using incendiary weapons, which burn their victims and start fires, in civilian areas of Syria in violation of international law," Human Rights Watch said in a statement this week.

"Incendiary weapons have been used at least 18 times over the past nine weeks, including in attacks on the opposition-held areas in the cities of Aleppo and Idlib on August 7, 2016."

Up to 500,000 people have been killed in Syria's war - the vast majority civilians - and as many as 10 million made homeless by regime and Russian bombing.

Russian air raids are thought to have killed thousands and at least 500 women and children.