Russia has killed over 5,000 Syrian civilians since the beginning of its direct military intervention in Syria in September 30, 2015 to prevent the overthrow of the Assad regime, a rights group said. It pointed out that the ongoing Russian bombing campaign on Syria also resulted in the displacement of millions of civilians as it targeted mainly health facilities and services centers.
In a report issued on Sunday, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that it had documented the death of 5,233 civilians, including 1,417 children and 886 women at the hands of Russian forces since September 30, 2015.
According to the report, the Russian bombing campaign has caused “tremendous” human and material losses. It indicated that 85 percent of the bombings Russian forces had carried out over the past two years targeted rebel-held areas, with the remainder 15 percent targeting ISIS-held areas. The airstrikes on ISIS-held areas targeted mainly civilians, the report added.
In addition to photos and videos, the report relied on the testimonies of 14 eyewitnesses to whom the Network directly spoke. The report listed 251 massacres that were committed by the Russian forces claiming the lives of thousands of civilians. The report noted that Russian aerial attacks have forced no fewer than 2.3 million civilians to flee their homes.
Furthermore, the monitoring group’s report recorded at least 707 attacks on vital civilian facilities, including 109 on mosques, 143 on educational facilities, and 119 on medical facilities.
The report also noted that Russian forces have used cluster munitions in no fewer than 212 attacks, mostly in Idlib province. They also used incendiary ammunition in at least 105 attacks, mostly in Aleppo province.
The Network went on to say that Russian forces had killed 47 medical personnel, including eight women, 24 civil defense personnel, and 16 media activists.
The rights group said that Russia sponsored agreements that led to mass forced displacement of civilians from rebel-held areas such as the evacuation agreements that were reached in Aleppo’s eastern neighborhoods in December, 2016 and Al-Wa’er neighborhood in Homs in March, 2017.
The report stressed that Russia has undoubtedly violated UN Security Council resolutions 2139 and 2254 which both called for an end to indiscriminate attacks on populated areas. Russia also violated Article 8 of Rome Statute through the act of willful killing which constitutes war crimes.
The Network called on UN Security Council to take additional steps pursuant to UNSC resolution 2254 which demanded “that all parties immediately cease any attacks against civilians and civilian objects as such, including attacks against medical facilities and personnel, and any indiscriminate use of weapons, including through shelling and aerial bombardment.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)