Syrian Rebels Claim Civilians Killed In Russian Airstrikes

Rebels and activists inside Syria say the Russian Air Force is targeting rebels instead of ISIS

Sep 30, 2015 at 8:13 AM ET

Russian airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday targeted rebels instead of ISIS and killed civilians, Syrian rebels and activists said.

“The Russian Air Force is killing civilians and targeting headquarters of the Free Syrian Army in the Syrian liberated areas,” tweeted a member of Jaysh al-Islam, a Syrian militia against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

A Syrian activist said at least 15 civilians were killed in an assault on the town of Talbiseh, near Homs, and posted their names on Facebook. Another activist claimed at least 28 people died in strikes on Syria’s Talbiseh, Zaafarana and Rastan combined, although a breakdown of the death toll adds up to 32 people.

Disturbing images on the Facebook page of Zaafarana Hospital claim to show at least three young children killed in the assault on the town. Two of them were covered in blood. Other images that appear to be taken inside the hospital show other children with injuries, and adults they claim were killed. A video uploaded to YouTube bearing the Zaafarana Hospital logo show some of the same faces and scenes, and efforts to revive the victims.

The reports could not be independently verified, but came as Russian President Vladimir Putin said the nation’s air force will support Syria’s army in the war-town country.

The airstrikes also hit the town of Latamna, north of Hama, according to Syrian rebels and activists posting on social media. YouTube videos allegedly show Russian jets soaring through the Syrian skies, and the frightening aftermath of Wednesday’s strikes. One, taken with shaky hands, shows thick clouds the color of charcoal billowing against a blue backdrop.

Bassam Jaara, a senior member of the Syrian opposition, threatened Russia in a tweet: “Welcome to the new Afghanistan,” he said, adding that “Syria will be a graveyard of Russia.”

Video allegedly showing Russian airstrikes on Talbiseh, near Homs.

Image claiming to show two Su-24s, Russian fighter jets, in the sky above Latamna, near Hama.