Russia has killed more civilians than the Syrian army and Islamist group Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria as of January, according to the independent watchdog the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR).
A report by the organisation, which uses Syrian civil servants in the country’s provinces to verify news about deaths, alleges that throughout last month Russian airstrikes killed 679 civilians, of whom 94 were children and 73 were women.
ISIS was the bloodiest Islamist group in January with the death of 98 civilians on its hands, which is more than the al-Qaeda affiliated, al-Nusra front that was responsible for 42 death. The total number of civilians killed in January in Syria is 1,382.
According to SNHR Russia’s death toll comprises largely of hits on contested cities such as Deir ez-Zor, Aleppo, Idlib and Raqqa, while the biggest target for the Syrian military’s advances have been the suburbs of Damascus.
SNHR alleges that Assad-loyal forces and the Russian military have violated the principles of the human rights international laws which protect the rights to life.
All evidence and eyewitnesses testimonies prove that more than 90 percent of the wide and individual attacks targeted civilians and civil points, the report alleges.
The Russian Ministry of Defence was not immediately available to respond to the report but Moscow has previously repeatedly denied their operations causing any collateral damage to civilians.
Last month the ministry’s spokesman Igor Konashenkov, who holds regular press briefings on airstrikes said that the Russian air force does not even plan airstrikes on such targets in the event of a threat of civilian deaths.
In December air force Colonel General Viktor Bondarev dismissed Human Rights Watch accusations that his airmen may have dropped cluster bombs on civilians, boasting that his pilots have not missed even once while they have been [in Syria].