Syrians accuse Russia of targeting civilian areas

The Guardian reports: Syrians say Russians are not only reckless about choosing targets, but also appear to be intentionally bombing some civilian areas.

Survivors, doctors treating the injured, and local commanders believe the Sukhoi jets, flying from a new airbase in the coastal Latakia province, are hitting homes in a deliberate campaign to break fighters’ morale and depopulate swaths of the countryside.

“They are targeting the civilians at night, and mostly frontlines during the day,” says Abu Hussain, a Turkmen rebel commander, a high-rank defector from the Syrian army. “It’s because they don’t want anyone to film the jets bombing at night, so you can’t prove their identity.”

That matches images and accounts of the airstrike on Raghat’s house [the home of a five-year-old girl described earlier in this report], which her uncle Ali says began moments after 9pm on 1 October. In one of her last photographs, she holds a lit torch, and video her uncle says was shot soon after the bombing shows flames raging through the house against a dark sky.

Russian airstrikes killed at least 295 Syrian civilians in October alone, according to monitoring group Airwars, which keeps an extensive database of images, videos, reports and biographies of the dead.

“Based on all field reporting, the number of alleged civilian casualties attributed to Russia is many times what we see being claimed against the US-led coalition,” says Chris Woods, who runs the Airwars project.

“We think the primary reason here that the casualties are so high is the type of munitions that Russia is using, mostly ‘dumb bombs’ which almost always mean more civilian deaths. That is closely followed by where and how Russia is bombing. There is no doubt that Russia is bombing civilian neighbourhoods.” [Continue reading…]

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