The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Russian intervention in Syria 98 months on | Considerable escalation in Syrian desert…nearly 30 airstrikes in “de-escalation zone”…hectic movements near occupied Syrian Golan

At a time when Russia’s plans are proceeding with their 98th consecutive month of involvement in the Syrian crisis, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has monitored and tracked the recent developments during the second month of the ninth year of the Russian intervention in Syria. Key developments can be summarized regionally as follows:



North-west Syria


Russian fighter jets continued their attacks on the “de-escalation zone” in November, executing 30 airstrikes on positions in Al-Haloubah, Fulyfel, Jabal Al-Arba’in, Mashoun, Sheikh Bahr, Ihsim, Al-Bara, Ain Shayp farms, Sheikh Sandyan, Arab Saied and Maarzaf in Idlib countryside, Al-Srmaniyah and Duwayr Al-Akrad in Sahl Al-Ghab in Hama countryside. Those airstrikes left five people injured.



North-east Syria


Russian forces did not carry out any joint patrols with their Turkish counterparts in north-east Syria in November.



Miscellaneous events


As a part of exploiting the residents’ dire living conditions and efforts to woo Syrian people, the Russian reconciliation centre distributed food, aid supplies, cloths and stationeries to residents in Al-Hasakah, Aleppo, Latakia, Daraa, Deir Ezzor and Rif Dimashq.


Separately, Russian militias were stationed at military headquarters in Al-Qunaitrah countryside near the occupied Syrian Golan on October 30, months after the evacuation of the headquarters, where Russian militias raised the Russian flag at Al-Nasyriah and Al-Mu’allaqah Brigades in Al-Qunaitrah countryside, amid the flight of Russian warplanes over the region.


While on November 3, SOHR activists reported seeing Russian helicopters, fighter jets and reconnaissance drones hovering over south area region and areas adjacent to the occupied Syrian Golan. This coincided with movements by the Russian military police near the 90th Brigade in Al-Quneitra, near the border with the occupied Syrian Golan.


Also, on November 26, Russian forces conducted a military patrol to check the security checkpoints near the occupied Syrian Golan near Al-Naseriya, Al-Ma’alaka and Al-Talool Al-Hamr villages and towns northern of Al-Qonaitara, before returning to Al-Ma’alaka.



Syrian desert


In November, Russian fighter jets escalated their attacks in different areas in the Syrian desert, executing over 30 airstrikes on on ISIS positions in Hama, Homs, Deir Ezzor and Al-Raqqah, killing 13 ISIS members and injuring others.



Between the 30th of September 2015 and the 30th of November 2023, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented the death of 21,196 persons. The breakdown of fatalities is as follows:


  • 8,723 civilians: 2,118 children under the age of eighteen, 1,325 females over the age of eighteen, 5,280 men and young people


  • 6,214 ISIS members


  • 6,259 fighters of rebel and Islamic Factions, Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham, the Islamic Turkestani Party, and fighters of Arab and foreign nationalities.


SOHR sources have reported that Russia used “Thermite-type explosives” in their airstrikes, a substance composed of aluminium powder and iron oxide which causes burns as it continues to ignite for about 180 seconds; some bombs used by Russian jets on the Syrian territory were loaded with this substance.


It has been discovered that they are “RBK-500 ZAB 2.5 SM” cluster incendiary bombs each weighing about 500 kg (about 1100 pounds (ca. 499 kilograms)) and they were dropped by military aircraft. They carried anti-individuals and anti-vehicles small-sized bombs of the type (AO 2.5 RTM), loaded with 50 to 110 small-sized bombs stuffed with “Thermite”, which outpour out of it when they explode; the range of these anti-individuals and anti-vehicles bombs reaches 20 to 30 metres.


As the months pass, the Syrians suffer the scourge of the Russian intervention, which seems to resemble a kind of revenge and retaliation against Syrians for protesting against the regime that committed the worst violations against its own people. At a time when the map of alliances and power balances is changing, Russia has become the ultimate winner, succeeding in helping the Syrian regime regaining control over about two-thirds of the country after losing control of most of its territory. Moscow used the pretext of “the war on terror” to commit massacres against civilians, and sponsored and struck agreements that were soon after abandoned. Moscow and its war machine have spilled the blood of Syrians despite claiming to be a “political mediator” or “broker” that can deal with all parties to the conflict.


With all recent changes in the balance of powers, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights renews its appeals to the international community to put pressure on Russia to stop its aggression against the Syrians, and to find a political solution to end the Syrian crisis that completed its eleventh year.