Turkey’s foreign minister condemns Russian attacks in Syria

Turkish foreign minister strongly condemns Moscow’s attacks on Syrian civilians calling it ‘inhumane’ and ‘against human conscience’

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Syrian girl who fled from the war has moved to Turkey with her family

Russia’s attacks on Syrian civilians are inhumane and against human conscience, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Anadolu Agency Saturday.

"We strongly condemn Russia's slaughter of civilians, including women, children and the elders," Cavusoglu said, adding that such attacks on civilian area in Syria were now taking place almost every day.

"These attacks are inhumane and against human conscience," he added.

He said that Russia was carrying out attacks on civilians in Eastern Ghouta, where 30 people, including at least eight children were killed in an attack in Hamuriye district Thursday and six civilians were killed in attacks in Irbin district.

He also said that Russian warplanes killed civilians, including women and children in attacks on settlements and hospitals in Azaz district in Aleppo Thursday and Friday. He added that some injured people were sent to hospitals in Turkey's southeastern Kilis province.

He noted that five people were killed and 10 others were injured in another Russian airstrike on the Batul Mosque in the opposition-held Zebdiya district in Aleppo during Friday prayer.

Cavusoglu said that while the UN Security Council decided to start a political process in Syria on Dec. 18, the Russian administration began intensifying its attacks on civilians starting from Dec. 20.

"We are at the point where words fail. When Syrians looked to international community for ending violence in these harsh winter conditions, they found out that another country had started a war against them and they are plunged into darkness every day."

"We want all responsible members of the international community to consider this very dangerous situation and to say 'stop' these attacks for not only peace for Syrians but also the region's peace," Cavusoglu said.

He said that the efforts of bodies such as the Amnesty International to highlight the attacks on civilians to the global community were important, which allowed those with a conscience to speak up.

"This organization in an evaluation titled 'the Russian shameful rejection of civilian casualties' recorded the precept that 'the Russian attacks target residential units and directly hit civilians as well as health centers where no military targets exist and which result in civilian casualties. And, such attacks could turn into war crimes'. This voice must be reflected in the international conscience," he said.

Russian airstrikes have killed more than 250 civilians this week alone across Syria.

According to a report released earlier this month by Amnesty International, Russian airstrikes in Syria have killed “hundreds” of Syrian civilians over the last three months.

The report also suggests that Russian authorities were attempting to cover up the mounting civilian death toll.

The report provides evidence that shows that the Russian military has used unguided bombs in densely-populated civilian areas, along with internationally banned “cluster” munitions.

Amnesty International said that the airstrikes had caused massive destruction to residential areas -- striking homes, mosques, markets and medical facilities -- in violation of international humanitarian law.

Russia began its air operations in Syria on Sept. 30 with the aim of supporting the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

While the Kremlin says the airstrikes target the Daesh militant group, some members of the western NATO alliance believe Russia is targeting groups opposed to Assad, including some that enjoy U.S. and Turkish support.

At least 250,000 people have been killed since the Syria conflict began in 2011, according to UN figures.