France on Thursday condemned bombings by Syrian regime forces and its ally Russia against civilian populations in Idlib and Hama province that have left scores of casualties, and called on Russia to stop them.
“These acts violate international humanitarian law,” foreign affairs ministry spokeswoman Agnes Romatet-Espagne said in a statement.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the air raids have killed 37 civilians, including 12 children.
Also Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry denied that Russian and Syrian jets had killed at least 150 civilians in Idlib in over a week of bombing, saying it had been careful not to hit civilians.
Reuters quoted Major-General Igor Konashenkov as saying in a statement that the opposition-run Civil Defense group which made the allegations was made up of “charlatans” who could not be regarded as objective sources of reliable information.
“Russian air force planes do not strike residential districts in populated areas in order to avoid casualties,”
“Targets are terrorist bases, armored vehicles and ammunition stories which are always identified by drones and
always confirmed by other channels beforehand.”
He said Russian planes operating in Idlib Province had only targeted militant fighters and their equipment in the last week.
His statement came as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to step up efforts to bring peace to Syria, with the Russian leader declaring the right conditions now existed to end the war.
After late night talks at Erdogan’s presidential palace in Ankara, Putin and Erdogan agreed to push for the creation of a “de-escalation” zone in Idlib.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also said ISIS terrorist group is on the verge of collapse, giving credit to Russian and Syrian forces only.