Russia's civilian killings in Syria may amount to war crimes: Amnesty International

Ahram Online , Wednesday 23 Dec 2015

Civilians inspect a site hit by what activists said were air strikes carried out by the Russian air force on Reef al-Mohandeseen area in the western countryside of Aleppo, Syria October 21, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

The London-based rights watchdog Amnesty International issued a report on Wednesday denouncing Russia's "shameful failure" to acknowledge civilian killings of at least 200 civilians by directly attacking them and even attacking medical facilities.

The findings of the report also revealed that Russia has been using the internationally banned deadly cluster munitions, which Amnesty called on Russia to halt immediately.

Moscow has repeatedly denied civilian causalities, saying that these claims are part of "information warfare.”

The report focuses on six attacks in Homs, Idlib, and Aleppo which took place between 30 September and 29 November, which it says killed at least 200 civilians.

Moscow started air strikes on Syria in late September targeting ISIS militants and Al-Nusra front militants.

"Some Russian air strikes appear to have directly attacked civilians or civilian targets by striking residential areas and even medical facilities with no evident military target, resulting in the death and injury of civilians. Such attacks may amount to war crimes," Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty, Philip Luther said.

“These findings were reached following interviews with eyewitnesses to the attacks and their aftermath,” including doctors and human rights activists.

Amnesty also "obtained and reviewed audiovisual imagery" relating to the attacks and "commissioned advice from weapons experts.”

President Vladimir Putin said in October that reports of alleged civilian casualties emerged before the first air strikes were even carried out, BBC reported.

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