Syria’s Sun Won’t Rise From Moscow
I- Introduction and Methodology:
On 30 September 2015, Russian forces commenced air strikes on Syria and announced that it will target extremist Islamic groups (i.e. ISIL, An-Nusra Front, and Jund Al Aqsa group). However, their actions on the ground contradicted statements made Russian officials. It seems that these air strikes deliberately killed civilians and targeted regions that were never under the control of extremist Islamic groups.
In this report, we focus on:
a- Targeted civilian and military regions under the control of armed opposition
b- Targeted civilian regions under the control of ISIL.
c- We excluded military targets on ISIL’s areas due to the difficulty we face in verifying its occurrence.
Our team conducted interviews and investigations with residents, local activists and eyewitnesses. We analyzed footages and images we received and crossed referenced these outcomes with information about the air strikes from pro-Russian media outlets.
We were able to distinguish the shelling pattern of the new Russian air strikes; as it has different destructive power, warplanes’ sound, and weapons.
We faced a number of challenges while conducting this study; the most notable difficulties were that the Syrian regime uses Russian made weapons and ammunition. Therefore, among all the shelling incidents, we were able to verify only 23 attacks that we think were alleged to be Russian. However, we are still keen on authenticating these facts to reach the highest degrees of certainty. Among the interviews we conducted, we included 9 testimonies and informed the eyewitnesses of the interviews’ aims. However, the eyewitnesses’ names shall remain confidential for the safety of eyewitnesses.