Raqqa: Russia accuses US-led coalition of 'barbaric' bombing of IS Syria stronghold

Raqqa: Russia accuses US-led coalition of 'barbaric' bombing of IS Syria stronghold

Raqqa: Russia accuses US-led coalition of 'barbaric' bombing of IS Syria stronghold

Updated 23 October 2017, 10:10 AEDT

Russia accuses the US-led coalition in Syria of wiping the city of Raqqa "off the face of the earth" with carpet bombing, in the same way the United States and Britain bombed Germany's Dresden in 1945.

Russia has accused the US-led coalition in Syria of wiping the city of Raqqa "off the face of the earth" with carpet bombing, in the same way the United States and Britain bombed Germany's Dresden in 1945.

Key points:

  • Russia says Raqqa resembles Dresden after it was destroyed in WWII
  • The West is accused of using Raqqa aid to cover up evidence of destruction
  • The US coalition maintains it's careful to avoid casualties on bombing runs

The Russian Defence Ministry, which has itself repeatedly been forced to deny accusations from activists and Western politicians of bombing Syrian civilians, said it looked like the West was now rushing to provide financial aid to Raqqa to cover up evidence of its own crimes.

Major-General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Defence Ministry, said in a statement that about 200,000 people had lived in Raqqa before the conflict in Syria, but not more than 45,000 people remained.

US-backed militias in Syria declared victory over Islamic State militants in Raqqa, the group's capital, last week, raising flags over the last jihadist footholds after a four-month battle.

"Raqqa has inherited the fate of Dresden in 1945, wiped off the face of the earth by Anglo-American bombardments," Major-General Konashenkov said.

Most of the German city was destroyed in Allied bombing raids just before the end of World War II.

Though he said Russia welcomed Western promises of financial aid to rebuild Raqqa, Mr Konashenkov complained that numerous Russian requests for the West to give humanitarian aid to Syrian civilians in other parts of the country had been rejected in previous years.

"What is behind the rush by Western capitals to provide targeted financial help only to Raqqa?" he said.

"There's only one explanation: the desire to cover up evidence of the barbaric bombardments by the US air force and the coalition as fast as possible and to bury the thousands of civilians 'liberated' from Islamic State in the ruins."

The US-led coalition said it was careful to avoid civilian casualties in its bombing runs against Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq, and investigates any allegations.

It has previously denied killing civilians in air strikes on Raqqa, saying its goal was "zero civilian casualties".

Reuters