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 Death toll of civilians caused by Russian operations in Syria exceeds 600, including 150 children, - Turkish Foreign Minister

More than 600 civilians have been killed as a result of the Russian air campaign in Syria.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu condemned Russia on Monday for Sunday's airstrikes in Syria's northwestern Idlib province, Censor.NET reports citing Dailysabah.

In a written statement, Turkey's top diplomat said that around 200 civilians had been killed and buildings damaged.

Read more: Russia uses cluster munitions in Syria, - Human Rights Watch

"Russia mainly targets the moderate opposition in Syria since it entered Syria on Sep. 30, 2015. Meanwhile, civilian residential areas have been increasingly targeted as well," the statement reads.

Çavuşoğlu also said Russia has launched around 4,000 aerial attacks with over 90 percent of those targeting moderate opponents of President Bashar al-Assad.

He said those attacks had strengthened the hand of Daesh, adding that Russia was "dreaming" of handing the country over to the Assad regime again.

Read more: Nine Russian сontractors killed in Syria, - Wall Street Journal

"The death toll of civilians due to Russian operations is over 600. Some organizations say this number is around 800. We want the world to know that more than 150 of this figure are children," Çavuşoğlu said.

Describing Russia's actions as "insincerity, to say the least," Turkey's foreign minister said such bombardments needed to stop targeting moderate opposition and civilians, otherwise the conflict would continue for years.

Russia began air operations in Syria on Sept. 30 after receiving its parliament's approval. The Kremlin claimed the airstrikes, which followed its military buildup in Syria, aimed to support the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad, a long-standing Russian ally, against Daesh. However, Turkey and the West have accused Russia of targeting moderate fighters opposed to Assad, many of which are supported by Turkey and the U.S.

Read more: EU and Turkey closed theirs airspace for Russian Federation

While Moscow has struck Daesh, especially after a Russian civilian airliner crashed in Egypt on Oct. 31, NATO has claimed Russia was targeting groups opposed to Assad, including some that enjoy U.S. and Turkish support.

At least 250,000 people have been killed since the Syria conflict began in 2011, according to UN figures.

Источник: https://en.censor.net.ua/n366130