Russia won’t stop bombing Syria even after possible ceasefire

Top diplomat says Russian airstrikes in Syria will continue even if ceasefire announced

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Syrians walk on debris of collapsed buildings after the warplanes belonging to the Russian Army carried out airstrikes on opposition-controlled neighborhoods in Aleppo, Syria on December 11, 2015

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov has said a possible ceasefire in Syria wouldn’t stop Moscow launching air strikes in the country.

Early on Thursday, the Syrian regime as well as some opposition groups agreed to attend peace talks in Geneva despite confusion over regime leader Bashar al Assad’s role in the country’s future.

Assad's foreign minister Walid al Moualem also stated that the regime is willing to be involved in the peace talks with the aim of starting the political transition process in Syria without "any foreign interference."

The regime’s statement came after members of the UN Security Council, the US, the UK, France, Russia and China agreed to push for a nationwide ceasefire in Syria. 

Russia began launching air strikes in Syria, announcing it was intending to combat DAESH, on September 30 following a request by Assad, whose regime started a crackdown on civilian protests in 2011.

However, Bogdanow told Russian media outlet Interfax that the possible ceasefire would apply only "parties of the conflict," adding that Russia was combatting DAESH and other groups it considered to be terrorists.

One day before Bogdanow’s statement a report released by Amnesty International on Russian military activity in Syria documented that most of the Russian air strikes were focused on non-DAESH held areas and targeted civilian infrastructure and population centers including mosques, schools, busy markets and medical facilities.

The Amnesty investigators found that 25 Russian attacks seriously failed in respecting international humanitarian law by causing civilian casualities and involving the use of cluster bombs.

US officials have also released statements accusing Russia of propping up the Assad regime and targeting moderate opposition groups and civilian areas instead of battling DAESH.

"The vast majority of air strikes conducted by Russian military aircraft are against opposition groups to Assad and not aimed at [DAESH]," US State Department spokesperson John Kirby recently said in a news conference.

Over 500 civilians including 137 children have been killed in Russian air strikes since September 30.

TRTWorld and agencies