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Victims of Russian raids in Syria

Russian Federation has responded to an Amnesty International report claiming its air strikes killed at least 200 civilians in Syria, describing it as a “provocation”.

In one attack on October 15, near Homs, at least 46 civilians who were sheltering in a building basement were killed, Amnesty said.

It has repeatedly and forcefully denied targeting civilians, saying it takes great care to avoid bombing residential areas.

“Such attacks can be characterized as war crimes”, said program director of Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Program Philip Luther.

The group says it also examined videos and images purportedly showing the aftermath of attacks, supported by the opinion of “weapons experts”. The Russian authorities have not yet commented on the accusations in the report.

David Cenciotti, who runs The Aviationist website, said Russia’s Su-24 and 25 bombers have made “significant use of unguided fragmentation bombs…”

In one incident from November 29 Amnesty has reason to believe that Russian missiles killed 49 civilians in a public market place in Ariha in Idlib province.

The report puts Russia’s air war in Syria under close scrutiny, focusing on six bombing raids on areas where Amnesty says there were no obvious military targets nearby.

“Such attacks may amount to war crimes”, Luther said.

Also, the organization said it was “shameful” that Russian Federation “does not want to acknowledge civilian casualties”.

The latest bombs come with Vladimir Putin’s campaign in Syria under fire from Amnsesty International, which has claimed Moscow is guilty of violating humanitarian law.

It’s not the first time Russian airstrikes, which began over three months ago, in Syria are being criticised.

Cluster munitions are by aspect indiscriminate and sometimes abandon unexploded bomblets on the bottom.

Amnesty, an advocacy group that documents human rights violations around the world, wrote Wednesday’s report after conducting extensive interviews with civilian witnesses to the strikes. The jets also targeted a command post discovered by Russian drones in Aleppo province.

It said there was evidence suggesting Russia uses internationally-banned cluster bombs in its strikes while Russian authorities may have covered up civilian damage to a mosque and a hospital. “But they could not know it, nor could they verify it. What is known is that Jihadists operate in Syria as highly-mobile forces which used the infamous Toyota pickup trucks with mounted large-caliber weapons”, Konashenkov said.

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