Russia’s first airstrikes in Syria Wednesday targeted areas held by rebels receiving arms, funding, and training from the CIA and killed dozens of civilians, according to U.S. officials and published reports.
The Syrian National Council, a group opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, told Sky News that at least 36 people had been killed by airstrikes in the western city of Homs, including five children. Khaled Khoja, the SNC’s leader, told Sky that none of the four areas targeted by Russian planes Wednesday contained ISIS fighters and called Moscow’s claim that it was helping the U.S.-led coalition defeat the terror group “baseless.”
A senior U.S. defense official said the Russian strikes targeted fighters in the vicinity of Homs, located roughly 60 miles east of a Russian naval facility in Tartus, and were carried out by a “couple” of Russian bombers. In a video released by the U.S.-backed rebel group Tajamu Alezzah, jets are seen hitting a building claimed to be a location of the group in the town of Latamna in the central Hama province.
The group commander Jameel al-Saleh told a local Syrian news website that the group’s location was hit by Russian jets but didn’t specify the damage.
The Wall Street Journal reported that one video released by people affiliated with local rebel groups showed rebels and citizens are seen rushing down a street as thick black smoke and fire engulfed heavily damaged buildings. Then they are shown attempting to rescue those trapped under the rubble. A dazed man covered in blood was lifted up from the ground and taken outside.
“Is there anyone here?” a voice is heard shouting. “I don’t know, I don’t know but lots of people live here!” answers a panicked man.

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In another video a naked child covered in blood and shrapnel is shown crying on a bed at a local field hospital.
Moscow rejected claims that it was targeting so-called “moderate” rebels , as well as reports of civilians deaths. A spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry claimed to Sky News that the claims were part …Read More