The Assad regime offensives backed by Russian air strikes have displaced at least 120,000 people in the war-wracked country, a senior US official said on Wednesday, accusing Moscow of complicating the situation on the ground.
“Russia’s military intervention has dangerously exacerbated an already complex environment,” Anne Patterson, the US assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“Since the beginning of Russian strikes in Syria, at least 120,000 Syrians have been displaced as a result of regime offensives aided by Russian air strikes in the cities of Hama, Aleppo, and Idlib,” she said.
Washington has previously estimated that 90 percent of the Russian air strikes were not targeting IS forces but other rebel groups fighting the Assad regime.
Patterson said the Russian air strikes have so far targeted moderate opponents to Syria’s President Bashar Assad, killing civilians in attacks on civil defense crews, hospitals, centers for displaced persons and ambulances.
President Khoja said earlier that the Russian invasion of Syria will destabilize the region and threatens its security.
Khoja stresses the need to establish a safe zone in the country’s north and south to protect a Syrians from Assad’s barrel bombs and to curb the flow of refugees to outside Syria.
He added that a safe zone is needed to achieve stability, enable the displaced people return to their homes and to deliver relief aid more effectively. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)