The Russian Defense Ministry has denied claims that its planes killed over 150 civilians in airstrikes in Syria’s Idlib province last week, saying Russian planes do not target civilian areas. The allegations were made by the controversial White Helmets group.
Earlier, Reuters cited a White Helmets spokesman as claiming that members of the group had recovered 152 bodies of civilians killed by “the Russian and regime bombing campaign.” The group was mentioned by its other name, the Syrian Civil Defense, which it took from the government-run organization with a decades-long history.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov called the group “crooks” and criticized Reuters for giving them credibility.
“Russian Air Force planes do not target residential areas and villages to avoid civilian casualties,” he stressed. “They target terrorist bases, hardware and weapons storage sites, which are identified by surveillance drones and cross-checked through other channels.”