Counting civilian casualties in Syria
Hundreds of civilians in Syria have been killed in Russian air strikes between September 30 and November 20, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). The group said that 97 of the 403 casualties were children.
As reported by Al Jazeera, however, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) puts the figure higher. It is reporting 526 civilians killed in air strikes, including 137 children, since Russia launched its first air strikes.
Overall, the Syrian conflict has killed at least a quarter of a million people, according to the United Nations.
On November 22, government strikes killed at least seven people, including three children, in Douma just outside of the capital Damascus, SOHR said. At least seven civilians were killed in government air strikes in Aleppo on November 21.
Russian and Syrian officials said their jets hit 50 Islamic State targets in the Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor, the most intense air raids since Russia began its air strikes.
According to SOHR, at least 42,234 air strikes that targeted farms, villages, towns and cities have been documented to date. The group also said more than 22,370 so-called barrel bombs were dropped across the country in that period resulting in a total of 6,889 civilians deaths, including 1,436 children.
As reported by Al Jazeera, Russia says the goal of its military operation in Syria is in response to a request by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and on the basis of a decision granted by its parliament.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, spoke to Phoenix, a Chinese television channel, on November 22. He said: “You can say this is a civil war when you have a certain line that divides between different components of a certain society, whether sectarian or ethnic or maybe political line, something that we don’t have in Syria.”