Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Russian warplanes of hitting civilian targets in western Syria, claiming dozens of innocent lives, adding that the act amounts to be a war crime.
The strikes in question took place in northern Homs governorate on October 15, as Syrian regime ground forces and their allies commenced their offensive against Syrian opposition forces.
Russia started its air strikes in Syria on September 30, with the initial aim of battling the ISIS militancy. However, in time the Russian intentions in Syria appeared to be to only protect Bashar al Assad regime's withering authority.
"Indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks are serious violations of the laws of war that Russia has an obligation to investigate," the Human Rights Watch statement said.
The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) has also accused Russian warplanes of repeatedly targeting hospitals across the war torn nation.
"The strikes were by Russian forces because the sound of the planes was different from the sound made by Syrian air force planes, and the Russians fly much higher," locals told HRW.
Russia/Syria: Possibly Unlawful Russian Air Strikes https://t.co/eUKr8u3gxV
— Human Rights Watch (@hrw) October 25, 2015
In the village of Ghantou in Homs, the deadliest Russian air strike took place, whereas 46 members of an extended family died, HRW said, citing first responders and local activists.
A nearby bakery in the town of Ter Maaleh was hit by another air strike, reportedly killing 13 civilians and a local commander of the Free Syrian Army, according to witnesses cited by HRW.
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) October 25, 2015
The rights group also cited a pro government radio station, saying that the regime forces with the Russian air aid performed raids in both al Ghantou and Ter Maaleh, on the same day witnesses notified the group.
Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad made a surprise visit to Moscow for talks with the Russian president Vladimir Putin on October 22, highlighting Moscow's new role as a central player in the Syrian civil war.
The US condemned the visit, with White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters that "we view the red carpet welcome for Assad, who has used chemical weapons against his own people, at odds with the stated goal by the Russians for a political transition in Syria."