Russia accused of killing dozens of civilians in Syria

2015-10-27 11:38:06 | Al Muslim News
Russia accused of killing dozens of civilians in Syria
Human Rights group says Oct. 15 attacks apparently constitute war crimes


Russian air strikes in Syria are reported to have killed dozens of civilians, a rights group has said, adding that the attacks apparently constitute war crimes.

A series of Russian air raids in the city of Homs in western Syria on Oct. 15 killed at least 59 civilians including 33 children, the Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Sunday -- citing local residents and activists. The group added that the attacks constituted “violations of the laws of war”.

The US based organization said one airstrike reportedly hit the home of an opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander, in which 46 family members were killed. Locals said the FSA commander was away from the home at the time of the attack.

"Civilian relatives of combatants are not legitimate military targets. If the local commander was the intended target, the likelihood that the attack on a civilian home with what appears to be a vacuum bomb would have killed large numbers of civilians makes it a disproportionate and unlawful attack," said the statement. "Attacks in which the expected civilian loss exceeds the anticipated military gain are serious violations of the laws of war."

Another airstrike on the same day hit near a bakery, killing at least 13 civilians as well as a FSA soldier who was a Syrian army defector, the rights group said, adding that it was not clear whether he was the intended target, as neither Russia nor the Syrian regime issued statements about the specific air strikes.

The Oct. 15 bombing were a part of a broader air campaign by Russia on an enclave in northern Homs under the control of Syrian opposition groups, to assist a ground offensive by the regime forces and its allies.

Russia has been launching airstrikes in Syria since last month and insists it is primarily targeting Daesh.

However, Western powers say civilians and moderate opposition forces that are fighting against the Bashar-Al-Assad regime are bearing the brunt of the Russian strikes.

“Civilians in northern Homs may have nowhere to hide or flee as the offensive intensifies,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. 

“Russia should ensure that it takes all precautions to protect civilians and that civilians are able to leave the area if they want, without being hit by Russian or Syrian air strikes,” he added.

The rights group said no warnings or announcements were made to civilians prior to the Oct. 15 attacks although the laws of war require each party to the conflict to give effective advance warning of attacks that may affect the civilian population.

This was not the first time the Russian forces faced allegations of striking civilians since the start of the bombing campaign. Most recently, the Syrian-American Medical Society said Russian airstrikes hit nine hospitals in Syria this month, killing and wounding tens of staff and civilians.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Russian strikes killed at least 127 civilians including 36 children since the campaign started on Sept 30.



Tags: #Middle-East #Russia #

Latest News

What to Next

Finance minister and PM's son to be appear before joint investigation team today.

ISLAMABAD: The joint investigation team (JIT) probing the Sharif family's business dealings abroad has summoned finance minister Ishaq Dar to appe... More

Pakistan blast victims end sit-in as demands met

Islamabad, Pakistan - Thousands of protesters in the northwestern Pakistani city of Parachinar have ended a week-long sit-in following twin blasts tha... More

Large gathering to pray in collective funeral, held for Bahawalpur oil tanker fire victims

BAHAWALPUR: Collective funeral prayers for the victims of Bahawalpur oil tanker fire was held in Ramzan Joiya village, Ahmedpur East, here on Tuesday ... More

At least 123 killed in tanker fire near Bahawalpur

At least 123 people have been burnt alive and dozens of others injured after an oil tanker caught fire and exploded near Bahawalpur in Pakistan's ... More

Qatar denied all dictations from Saudi Arabia.

Qatar has dismissed a list of demands submitted by four Arab nations as neither reasonable or actionable.   This list of demands confirms w... More

Twin blasts kill dozens in Parachinar market

At least 26 people have been killed and 75 others wounded when twin explosions ripped through a crowded market in northwest Pakistan, according to off... More

Afghanistan suicide bomb kills at least 34

At least 34 people were killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province on Thursday. The bombing targeted Afghan troops ... More

India arrests 15 for celebrating Pakistan`s Champions Trophy victory

NEW DELHI: Indian police have in remission fifteen Muslims and filed offence charges against them for celebrating Pakistan’s triumph against Ind... More

Younis becomes first Pakistani to score 10,000 runs in Test cricket

KARACHI: Seldom have we waited for a sporting milestone with such eagerness, and anxiety, as we did for master batsman Younis Khan to complete 10,000 ... More