UK slams Russia for strikes on Syrian opposition

British representative in Syria publishes map showing relatively few Russian airstrikes target ISIL

UK slams Russia for strikes on Syrian opposition

World Bulletin / News Desk

Britain has accused Russia of conducting a “scorched earth policy” against Syrian opposition forces and civilians during last week’s attempted peace talks in Geneva.

Gareth Bayley, the U.K.’s special representative for Syria, said in a statement released on Twitter Tuesday that “Russia deliberately focused on decimating the opposition in Aleppo” as the warring sides gathered in Geneva for U.N.-sponsored talks.

“It [Russia] cannot continue to claim a seat at the table whilst deliberately bombing the moderate opposition and killing civilians in blatant breach of international humanitarian law,” Bayley’s statement said. 

Thousands of Syrians have fled from the northern Syrian town towards the Turkish border in recent days, as fighting in the region intensified.

The UN suspended peace talks "due to intensified fighting" in Syria, the UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said last week. Talks are scheduled to resume on Feb. 25. 

Bayley’s statement said: “Reports of over 300 air strikes maiming and killing not just moderate opposition forces – who were represented in Geneva, and who we believe represent part of the future of Syria – but large numbers of civilians." 

“The objective of this scorched earth policy is clear – eradicate the moderate opposition and strengthen [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad’s negotiating position.” 

Bayley also published a U.K. government map of Russian airstrikes in Syria during the Geneva peace talks, which appeared to show that relatively few of its missions were targeting territory controlled by ISIL

The map showed a heavy concentration of Russian strikes around Aleppo, some distance away from the nearest ISIL-controlled territory. Russia first began its air campaign in Syria on Sept. 30 of last year.

While Russia claims its campaign is aimed primarily at the ISIL militant group, it has repeatedly targeted civilian areas and the moderate anti-regime opposition groups that control them.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Şubat 2016, 09:09