Russia Denies Killing Civilians in West Syria Airstrikes

Observatory Reported Russian Strikes Killed at Least 53

Sunday reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed 53 civilians were killed in Russian airstrikes against the village of al-Shafah, in Deir Ezzor Province, western Syria. Details were scant, but they claimed children among the slain.

On Monday, Russia’s Defense Ministry issued its own statement, denying that Russian planes were involved in any such strikes killing civilians. It was unclear from their statement if they were denying that Russian airstrikes happened, or just the civilian toll.

This has been a recurring issue across western Syria with several different nations’ warplanes, killing large numbers of civilian bystanders for seemingly no reason in strikes against remote areas.

That several nations are involved in such operations, however, makes conclusively pinning strikes on any individual nation difficult, as locals who report the incidents often have an agenda, and little to no evidence to back up the claims of responsibility for the attacks.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.