Russia says air force has not hit civilian targets in Syria

Chief Commander of the Russian Aerospace Force Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev

The head of the Russian Air and Space Forces denied reports that Russian warplanes had hit civilian targets during its two-month counter-terrorism campaign in Syria. The Syrian army with the assistance of Russian aviation managed to liberate 80 towns and regain control of the territory of more than 500 square kilometres.

"This, we have results, which you can see", the commander said adding from the very first time of the mission the Aerospace Force have informed the public openly on targets and results in Syria.

Assessments of six Russian attacks showed that airstrikes damaged or destroyed dozens of civilian sites including a mosque, a market, medical facilities and houses, it said.

As the conflict continues over at Syria, the world has recently witnessed news of Russia's mark in its fight against IS (Islamic State formerly ISIS/ISIL) by bombing over military targets, which however has received backlashes from the worldwide community as it was reported that more than 200 civilians were killed and that it may constitute, as a war crime, according to sources.

Amnesty International accused Russian Federation this week of a failure to acknowledge civilian deaths from its strikes in at least 25 incidents.

There is also "evidence suggesting Russia's use of internationally banned cluster munitions and of unguided bombs in populated residential areas". Bondarev pointed out that the airborne campaign waged by Russia against Islamist militants in Syria was meticulously planned and that Russian forces closely cooperate with the Syrian leadership.

He said: "Our evidence indicates they are dropping unguided munitions in civilian areas, killing civilians, and they are dropping them against the free Syrian forces fighting Assad".

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted with concern the Amnesty report, deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters Wednesday.

When asked Monday about allegations that Russia is using cluster bombs, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian military in Syria operates in line with the global law.

Accusations of deadly Russian airstrikes have become common in Syria. Relations between Russian Federation and Turkey have taken a hit since the latter shot down a Russian Federation fighter jet near the Syrian border in November.

It comes after a new message was released apparently from the leader of so-called Islamic State in which he claimed bombing by Russian Federation and the US-led coalition had only increased the group's resolve.

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