Watchdog says Russia targeting civilians, hospitals in Syria

Report released by Syrian Network for Human Rights states Russian air strikes are targeting civilians both inside, outside of DAESH controlled areas

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

A Syrian child, wounded after Russian air strikes hit a school in the Azaz town of Aleppo, Syria, February 17, 2016

A report released by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) on Thursday stated that Russian air strikes are targeting civilians both inside and outside of DAESH controlled areas, claiming Russia’s indiscriminate killings amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The SNHR conducted interviews with multiple activist groups and local residents in Syria to analyse whether Russia was carrying out indiscriminate extermination of Syrian civilians.

The report outlined Russia was targeting regions under the control of opposition groups more than DAESH controlled areas, even if it did target DAESH, it shelled civilian regions rather than locations occupied by terrorists.

Russia was condemned by leaders on an international level for trying to create two forces in Syria, consisting of only DAESH and the Assad regime, in attempt to portray a heroic image of Bashar al Assad fighting DAESH.

The information contained in the report represents two cases of “massacres and violations committed” by Russian shelling on January 22 and 23, known as the massacre of Tabyi Jazeera and Khsham respectively.

Both located in the eastern suburbs of Deir Al Zour on the right bank of the Euphrates river are under DAESH control, the shelling on both days killed 99 people, including 27 children and 11 women.

Through careful review of photo and video evidence, SNHR concluded Russian air strikes have targeted purely civilian locations void of weapons while also stating it violates the United Nations Security Council 2138 resolution for targeting civilians via random attacks.

“It is clearly seen that Russia is sending a message to the Syrian people under rebel controlled areas by targeting health care centers," the SNHR chief said. 

"The message is, there is no red line that you can count on, nowhere is safe for you.”

According to the report, Russia targeted more than 27 health care centers since September 30, 17 in Aleppo and 10 in Raqqa, killing dozens of civilians.

SNHR officials had previously joined a meeting with Russian officials in New York and demanded Russia to be held responsible for war crimes against civilians.

TRTWorld and agencies