Monitor: Russian strikes killed more civilians than fighters
Syrian Observer group publishes report detailing Russian airstrikes in Syria, which they say have killed 403 civilians and 381 fighters in the last two months, while the Russian Defense Ministry claims to have killed 600 fighters in a single strike on Friday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights released a report on Friday night, which thoroughly analyzed all airstrikes conducted in Syria during the last 13 months. The report's statistics include casualty reports from recent Russian strikes in Syria, which according to the monitors have killed more civilians than fighters.
Overall, the SOHR documented 42,234 airstrikes in Syria in the span of 13 months, from October 20, 2014 to November 20 of this year. The figures included airstrikes which took place on Friday morning and targeted several farms, "villages, towns and cities in 13 provinces," according to the organization.
The Russian Air Force conducted its first airstrike in Syrian at the end of September, and since then, "hundreds of airstrikes carried out by the Russian air force have killed 403 civilians, including 97 children and 69 women, and 381 fighters from Jabhat al- Nusra, IS, the rebel and Islamist factions," according to the Observatory.
Russian strikes in Syria have grown in intensity and scope following the Paris attacks, with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu saying on Friday that more than 600 rebels had been eliminated as a result of a cruise missile strike targeting Syria's Deir ez-Zour province, in clear contradiction to the observatory's figures.
A video released by the Russian Defense Ministry was purported to show cruise missiles being fired from a Russian Navy vessel in the Caspian Sea.
According to Shoigu, Russian warplanes flew 522 sorties and destroyed over 800 targets in the last four days. Since the onset of the operation Russian warplanes have launched 101 cruise missiles, dropped 1400 tons of different bombs.
Russian Defense Minister Shoigu had said the cruise missiles hit seven targets in Syria and added that Russia doubled the number of aircraft taking part in its Syria campaign to 69 planes.
He said the Russian military air fleet in Syria was reinforced by 8 Su-34 bombers and a unit of Sy-27SM3 jet fighters, according to the report.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was also quoted as saying that, "Moscow's military campaign in Syria to date has not achieved enough and a next phase is needed," by Russian media outlets on Friday.
"Our objectives are being fulfilled, and fulfilled well," the RIA Novosti news agency quoted Putin as saying during a video conference with military officials. "But for now that is not enough to cleanse Syria of rebels and terrorists and to protect Russians from possible terrorist attacks," he said.
The SOHR report also listed the statistics for Syrian regime bombings, 22,370 of which were conducted with barrel bombs. The bombs targeted a number of areas, including the provinces of Rif Dimashq, Aleppo, Homs, Hama, al- Hasakah, Deir Ezzor, al- Quneitera, al- Suwaydaa, Daraa, Idlib and Lattakia during the stated time frame.
The report concluded 3,702 fighters from ISIS, Jabhat al- Nusra, the rebel and Islamist factions, were killed by Syrian regime bombardments, while several thousands were wounded.
However 6,889 civilians, including 969 women, and 1436 children, were killed by the same bombardments. Over 35,000 civilians were wounded, and dozens of thousands displaced as a result of the attacks.