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09/30/2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Russian bombing of Syrian civilian neighbourhoods kills women and children - eyewitness

 

  • Eyewitness tells Avaaz Russian planes bombed a bakery and a vegetable market near Homs, killing 4 children and 2 women

  • Strikes hit at 10.30am local time, nearly 60 homes destroyed

Russian airstrikes in Syria today on civilian areas outside of ISIS control represent a dangerous escalation in the Syrian crisis, the campaign group Avaaz said in a statement today. Speaking to Avaaz, an eyewitness who rushed to the scene after the attacks, said at 10.30am local time Russian jets bombed a bakery in Talbiseh and a vegetable market outside the town north of Homs, killing eight people including four children and two women.

The eyewitness, called Ahmed, an English teacher from the northern suburbs of Homs who was teaching a class near Talbiseh when the Russian strikes hit, told Avaaz that bombs also landed close to a Civil Defence base. According to residents, there are no rebel units in the immediate area. Avaaz can share contact details of the eyewitness with media for independent verification.

The Russian airstrikes have sparked renewed and urgent calls for a targeted no-fly zone in northern Syria to protect civilians.

Emma Ruby-Sachs, deputy director of Avaaz, said: “Russia says it’s bombing ISIS, but eyewitnesses say their brutal attacks targeted areas way outside of ISIS control. This will only sow instability and radicalisation and should be an urgent wake-up call to the US and its allies to enforce a targeted no-fly zone to save lives, counter ISIS and alleviate the refugee crisis. Syrians civilians need protection now, not further attacks from Russian bombs.”

Since March of this year, Avaaz has been campaigning for a targeted no-fly zone in northern Syria enforced by the US and allies in Europe and the region. The call has been backed by more than a million people around the globe. A targeted no-fly zone will save thousands of lives, with limited engagement by the US and its allies. It will also help allow greater access for humanitarian assistance, bring greater security and more reliable services to communities, and help break the codependent extremism of ISIS and Assad.

Polling conducted by YouGov for Avaaz shows a majority (58%) of the American public is in favour of US involvement in enforcing a no-fly zone to protect Syrian civilians from regime chemical attacks.

For interviews, please contact Will Davies on +1 646-628-1210 or [email protected]