Rights Group Says Russian-led Assault in Syria has Killed Over 500 Civilians
A Russian-led assault against the last rebel bastion in northwestern Syria has killed over 500 civilians and wounded over 2,000 people since it began two months ago, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) says. “The Russian military and its Syrian ally are deliberately targeting civilians, with a record number of medical facilities bombed,” Fadel Abdul Ghany, chairman of SNHR, told Reuters. Russia and Syria deny claims that they indiscriminately attack civilian areas, saying instead they’re defending themselves against terror attacks in the region. In April, Russian jets and the Syrian army launched a large offensive against parts of the rebel-held Idlib Province and neighboring northwestern provinces in the biggest escalation in the war between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and rebel groups since last summer. According to the United Nations, at least 300,000 people have been forced to leave their homes during the onslaught, and humanitarian organizations have warned that Idlib is standing at the brink of disaster, with 3 million civilian lives at risk. The ongoing civil war, now in its ninth year, has left some 370,000 dead and almost 13 million without a home.