Russia denies air strikes targeted Syria civilians

Moscow slams claims it struck civilian areas as report says one-third of those killed in raids were non-combatants.

    Russia denies air strikes targeted Syria civilians
    A Syrian monitoring group says one-third of those killed by Russian air strikes in Syria were civilians [AFP]

    Russia denounced accusations on Wednesday that its air strikes in Syria have targeted civilian areas, despite reports that about one-third of all those killed in such attacks were non-combatants.

    "All of these anonymous and unsubstantiated statements about the alleged use of Russian aircraft on civilian targets in Syria is increasingly reminiscent of hypnotists' acts in travelling circuses," Russia's defence ministry said in a statement, calling the claims "absurd".

    Moscow has come under growing criticism from Syrian activists, international human rights groups, and the West for allegedly attacking medical facilities, schools, markets and residential areas during its three-month bombing campaign in support of the government of President Bashar al-Assad against opposition fighters.

    The US State Department said on Tuesday that Russian air strikes have killed "hundreds".

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said on Wednesday at least 792 civilians - including 180 children - were among 2,371 killed by Russian air raids since September 30.

    The rest of the dead were fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, as well as Syrian opposition groups, according to the observatory.

    Last week Amnesty International, the UK-based rights group, issued a report saying Russian raids violated international law and could constitute war crimes.

    Russia's defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov had dismissed the report, saying it was made up of "cliches and fakes".

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?