Russia began its military engagement in Syria in support of the Assad government on September 30th 2015, in a campaign dominated by intense airstrikes. While Moscow initially claimed to be targeting so-called Islamic State, it soon became clear that rebel-held areas of Syria were its main focus. More than 39,000 airstrikes were declared in the first three years of fighting – many of them targeting civilian areas and infrastructure according to observers.
While the campaign saw much of Syria return to Assad government control, as many as 23,000 non-combatants were also locally alleged killed by Moscow’s actions to October 2019 – though Russia itself publicly maintains no civilians have been harmed in its strikes. While Airwars continues to monitor and research all local claims daily, our comprehensive online assessments of Russian civilian harm allegations presently run only to October 31st 2019.