Turkey condemns Russian air strikes on Syrian civilians

Turkey condemns Russian air strikes on civilians and facilities in Syria, calling them 'war crimes'

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday condemned civilian deaths from Russian air strikes and starvation in besieged areas in Syria, calling these "war crimes."  

Responding to a question regarding recent Russian air strikes on three schools which have hit civilians in Syria, killing 35 including children in the west of Aleppo province, Cavusoglu said "I strongly condemn Russia's killing of civilians almost every day - including women, children and elderly - in attacks on residential areas in Syria. I cannot associate this with humanity.

"Today Syria is in a state destruction. Unfortunately the fire is being treated with gas in a place where we all should work hard to end the conflict situation," he added.

The United States has also expressed concerns over the Russian air strikes in Syria.

"We continue to remain concerned about reports of civilian casualties caused by Russian airstrikes and collateral damage, damage done to facilities that are used or primarily for innocent civilians, whether it's schools, hospitals or homes," said State Department spokesman John Kirby.

"This remains a concern, what they're hitting and just as importantly, what they're not hitting."

The peace process in Syria could be badly affected by the Russian strikes, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

According to US officials, the Russian air campaign in Syria - which was launched on September 30 - has been targeting Syrian civilians, facilities, and anti Assad opposition forces despite claims that the purpose of the operation is to fight DAESH.

Russia, a long-term ally of the Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad, has killed 583 people, including 570 civilians, since it launched its campaign of air strikes in Syria, according to a recent report by The Syrian Network for Human Rights.

The UN estimates the death toll in Syria since the war there began to be at least 260,000, while the SOHR states that the number has now exceeded 350,000.

About 4 million refugees have taken refuge in neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt, with Turkey hosting the most - over 2 million.

Thousands are still attempting to reach EU countries.

TRTWorld and agencies