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US claims over civilian deaths in Syria ‘absurd,’ Russia says

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A frame grab taken from footage released by Russia's Defense Ministry on December 25, 2015, shows airstrikes carried out by Russia's air force hitting militants' vehicles, which, according to the ministry, carried oil, at an unknown location in Syria. (Reuters photo)

The Russian Defense Ministry has denounced as “absurd” allegations by the United States that Moscow’s airstrikes in Syria are causing civilian casualties.

The reaction came a day after the US Department of State claimed that the Russian campaign had left hundreds of "civilians" dead and struck "medical facilities, schools and markets."

"All of these anonymous and unsubstantiated statements about the alleged use of Russian aircraft on civilian targets in Syria are increasingly reminiscent of hypnotists' acts in travelling circuses," the ministry said in a Wednesday statement, slamming the claims as "absurd."

Russia launched the campaign against the Takfiri Daesh terrorists and other militant groups in Syria on September 30 upon a request from the Damascus government.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has also alleged that Russia’s airstrikes have killed over 2,370 people since September 30, including 792 civilians.

‘Absolute silence’ on US strikes

Russia's Defense Ministry, meanwhile, censured the "absolute silence" about the strikes by Washington, which itself is leading a coalition that has been targeting alleged Daesh positions in Syria since September 2014 without a permit from Damascus or a UN mandate. The effectiveness of those strikes have been questioned as infrastructure has been targeted in several cases.

The Russian statement also cast doubt on the outcome of the US-led coalition strikes, saying the airstrikes had caused "mass casualties."

Earlier this month, Russia dismissed as full of “clichés and fakes” a report by Amnesty International over its airstrikes in Syria that alleged hundreds of civilians have fallen victim to Russia's strikes in Syria. 

Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since 2011, which has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people, and displaced millions.

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