Amnesty International says that Russia is guilty of some of the most “egregious” war crimes it has seen in decades.
The human rights organization told Sky News that over the last week Russian aircraft in Syria have deliberately carried out airstrikes against civilians and rescue workers trying to evacuate the wounded, especially in the city of Aleppo.
The Director of Amnesty International’s Program on Crisis Response, Tirana Hassan, said that airstrikes on schools, residential areas, and hospitals were carried out by Russia bombers.
Hassan stated that there is a plethora of evidence that Russian and Syrian bombers have carried out airstrikes against civilians, which is a war crime itself. According to the Director, what is most alarming are the consistent reports of follow-up bombardments which kill humanitarian workers and civilians attempting to evacuate the wounded and the dead.
Russia has repeatedly claimed that its bombers carry out airstrikes only against positions of the so-called Islamic State.
President Putin’s Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, has insisted that there is no connection between civilian casualites and Russian airstrikes.
"We categorically reject such claims, especially since those who make such statements are not able to somehow prove their allegations," Peskov said.
In December, Amnesty International published a report which highlighted six cases of Russian airstrikes in Syria in the fall of 2015 in which a total 200 civilians were killed. The human rights organization’s report suggested that the many such airstrikes deliberately targeted residential areas in Syria “as the bombs fell on areas with no military value.”
Peskov did not comment on the report.