Russia’s bombing of Syria has killed many civilians and may amount to a war crime, Amnesty International said on Wednesday, presenting what it said was evidence that Moscow’s actions had violated humanitarian law.
There is also evidence that they unlawfully used unguided bombs in densely populated areas and inherently indiscriminate cluster munitions.
Russian Federation says its airstrikes are aimed at the Islamic State group and other “terrorists”, but Western officials and Syrian rebels say most of the strikes have focused on central and northern Syria, where IS does not have a strong presence.
Moscow in the past has denied purposely targeting civilians.
Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch accused the Russian military of using cluster munitions – weapons which are internationally banned.
The report “confidently states that there were no military targets or militants in areas targeted by alleged Russian air strikes”, he said.
The group also claimed Russian Federation covered up damage to a mosque in one air strike, and a field hospital in another.
In one of the bloodiest maneuvers documented by the organization, they pointed out three missiles fired at a crowded market in the center of Idleb, which resulted in the death of 49 civilians.
Earlier this week, President Vladimir Putin warned Russian Federation will use more advanced military force against terror groups in Syria “if necessary”.
Witnesses described how the bustling Sunday market became a scene of carnage in seconds, with local media activist Mohammed Qurabi al-Ghazal quoted as saying: “In just a few moments, people were screaming, the smell of burning was in the air and there was just chaos“.
It obtained and reviewed audiovisual imagery relating to all these attacks or their aftermath, and commissioned advice from weapons experts on munitions visible in them.
Sources inside Syria told Breitbart News last month that Russian Federation was dropping cluster munitions indiscriminately on civilian targets. Such attacks may constitute war crimes.
A Kremlin statement said it will examine the Amnesty report, and the foreign ministry said as of yet it had “no corroborated facts” about civilian losses in Syria.
Amnesty’s report comes after the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Friday endorsing a plan for a political transition to end Syria’s bloody civil war.
“If they are behind it or if they are even perceived to be behind it, then I think that other parties are going to question the seriousness of Russia’s commitment to the United Nations process”, Katz said.
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