Russian airstrikes are now the leading killer of Syrian civilians, accounting for more than half of all civilian deaths. In a letter to the UN Security Council delivered on 26 October, the Special Representative of the Syrian National Coalition, Dr. Najib Ghadbian, called on Member States to stop the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians through the enforcement of a no-bombing zone, calling Russian claims that its airstrikes targeted ISIS a “fallacy”.
Citing data from the Syrian Civil Defence (“White Helmets”), the Syrian National Coalition’s letter outlined the alarming human toll of Russian airstrikes and warned that Russia’s actions were war crimes. Analysis of Russian airstrikes conducted between 30 September and 17 October revealed:
- Russia conducted 297 air airstrikes across North West Syria, in Homs, Idlib, Aleppo, the Damascus countryside, Hama and Deraa
- 231 civilian deaths due to Russian airstrikes in Syria, including 38 women, 34 children and 3 Syrian Civil Defence (“White Helmets”) rescue workers.
- Russian airstrikes accounted for 53 percent of all civilian deaths in Syria.
- Only 7 percent of Russian airstrikes targeted ISIS.
- Since the start of Russian strikes, ISIS has made significant advances, including in Aleppo.
- As many as 85,000 people fled Hama and the southwestern districts of Aleppo city after Russian and regime forces launched a co-offensive in opposition-held areas.
- Russian airstrikes have overwhelmingly targeted civilian objects, including civilian homes, bread distribution points, IDP camps, farms and fields.
To read the full letter the Syrian National Coalition submitted to the Security Council, click here.