Russian air strikes are war crimes: Amnesty International

24 December 2015 7:45 am

Rather than hitting terrorist targets, Russian airstrikes in Syria appear to have actually killed hundreds of civilians and destroyed or damaged hospitals and dozens of homes, according to an Amnesty International report.

Amnesty says Russia should be indicted for war crimes.

In a statement, Amnesty International said it had interviewed eyewitnesses and survivors of attacks as well as examining video evidence and images showing the aftermath of attacks, aided by analysis by weapons experts.

“The attacks were identified as suspected Russian air strikes by cross-referencing details of each attack with statements from the Russian Ministry of Defence announcing “terrorist” targets struck, or from details about the nature of the attack in witness testimony,’’ the statement said.

“The organization’s research into these strikes indicate that there were no military targets or fighters in the immediate vicinity of the areas that were struck. This suggests that the attacks may have violated international humanitarian law and may, in some circumstances, constitute war crimes.”

The statement details one of deadliest attacks where three missiles were fired on a busy market in the centre of Ariha in Idleb governorate killing 49 civilians.

The evidence suggests that the Russian airstrikes supporting Bashar Al-Assad aren’t doing much good.

The Guardian reports that Russia was banking on a ground force of Syrian troops to finish what its warplanes started. However, more than 12 weeks later, Syria’s army and the large numbers of Shia militias that back it have made few meaningful gains on the ground. Syrian ground forces don’t know how to use it to their advantage.

Meanwhile the carnage continues in a conflict that has so far killed 250,000 people.