Syria opp.: Russia targeting civilians, not ISIL

Opposition groups call Russian intervention in Syria tantamount to ‘occupation’ of country

Syria opp.: Russia targeting civilians, not ISIL

World Bulletin / News Desk

Recent Russian airstrikes in Syria are targeting civilians and not the ISIL militant group, according to Syrian opposition groups fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

In a joint statement issued Tuesday, 41 different armed opposition groups said they considered recent Russian intervention in Syria – including both airstrikes and the deployment of Russian troops on the ground – tantamount to the “occupation” of the war-ravaged country.

Russian military intervention in Syria, they noted, had come at the request of the Assad regime.

Last week, Russian warplanes began striking targets inside Syria for the first time. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the strikes targeted ISIL munitions depots, vehicles and communications centers.

Syrian opposition groups, however, say Russia’s military involvement is aimed not at crippling ISIL but at propping up the embattled Assad regime.

They also say the Russian airstrikes killed numerous civilians.

“Russian warplanes killed 50 civilians in Homs,” opposition groups said in their statement, describing the bombings as a “war crime”.

The Russian airstrikes, they added, “targeted areas exclusively inhabited by civilians – not ISIL positions.”

While Moscow insists it is only targeting ISIL and affiliated militant groups, Western countries and their Gulf allies believe moderate opponents of Assad – along with civilians – are bearing the brunt of the Russian airstrikes.

Syria has been gripped by bitter fighting since the Assad regime cracked down on anti-government protests – which began in early 2011 as part of the “Arab Spring” uprisings – with unexpected ferocity.

According to the UN, more than 250,000 people have since been killed in the conflict, which continues to pit several heavily-armed factions – including ISIL and the regime itself – against one another.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Ekim 2015, 13:43