Russian strikes in Syria claimed more than 18,000 deaths, says OSDH

Russian strikes in Syria claimed more than 18,000 deaths, says OSDH

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44% of the victims identified between 2015 and 2018 in this conflict are civilians.

Russian strikes in Syria have claimed the lives of more than 18,000 people, including nearly 8,000 civilians, since the start of Moscow’s military intervention alongside the Syrian regime in 2015. A figure given on Sunday by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Man (OSDH).

The director of the NGO Rami Abdel Rahmane lists among them 7,988 civilians, or 44% of the total budget. There are also 5,233 fighters of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group and 4,875 fighters from various rebel, Islamist and jihadist groups, according to the Observatory, which has an extensive network of sources in the country at war.

More than 360,000 people have been killed in Syria since the beginning of the conflict, triggered by the bloody crackdown on anti-government protests.

A decisive intervention

A powerful ally of the Damascus regime, Russia has been operating in Syria since September 30, 2015, and has always denied targeting civilians. His involvement allowed a drastic change in the military situation. “The regime controlled only 26% of Syrian territory” on the eve of Russian intervention, when the IS controlled more than 52%, according to the OSDH.

Loyalist forces now control two-thirds of the territory, while ISIS has almost been wiped off the map, under two separate offensives, one led by the regime and its Russian ally, the other led by Washington with the help of Arab-Kurdish forces.

The rebels, who in recent months have lost their last strongholds in the south of the country and in the vicinity of Damascus, are today mostly confined to the province of Idleb (north-west). On 17 September, an agreement between Russia and Turkey, backed by insurgent groups, managed to remove the prospect of a regime offensive on the province, in its viewfinder for months.

The main cities of the country -Damas, Aleppo, Homs, Hama and Deraa- are now all acquired under the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Government territories now host 72% of the population, according to geographer Fabrice Balanche, a specialist in Syria.

Between veto rights and parallel negotiations

In addition to military support, Russia has engaged diplomatically, vetoing 12 UN resolutions since 2011 against UN resolutions condemning the Syrian regime.

It has also initiated a process of inter-Syrian talks that overshadowed that of Geneva under the aegis of the UN. On the ground, xhas negotiated surrender agreements with insurgent groups to facilitate the resumption of rebel strongholds by Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

From now on, Russia is more and more pressing to initiate the return of several million refugees and international reconstruction.

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