‘3,800 civilians dead in Russian strikes in Syria’
More than 3,800 civilians have been killed in one year of Russian air strikes in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad, a monitoring group said on Friday as international outcry mounted.
Assad’s regime and its key backer Russia are under growing pressure from world governments to halt a new offensive pounding rebel-held areas of the battleground city of Aleppo.
More than 9,300 people have been killed in the Russian raids since September 30, 2015, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The toll includes more than 2,700 jihadists from the Islamic State group and around 2,800 fighters from various rebel factions, the British-based monitor said. At least 20,000 civilians have been wounded in the Russian raids, it said.
The Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria for its information, says it determines what planes carried out raids according to their type, location, flight patterns and the munitions involved.
Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said the death toll from Russian strikes could be even higher given the number of people killed by unidentified warplanes.
Moscow had on Thursday said that it would press on with its bombing campaign in Syria, ignoring a threat by Washington to suspend its engagement over the conflict following escalating attacks on rebel-held parts of Aleppo.
Regime and Russian aircrafts have carried out a barrage of strikes on east Aleppo since the Syrian government announced an offensive last week to retake all of the divided city.
The bombardment has been some of the worst in Syria’s five-year civil war, and follows the failure of a short-lived ceasefire brokered by Russia and the United States of America.