Over 16,000 Syrians killed by US-backed rebels since February – Russian UN mission

© Ammar Abdullah
Over 16,000 people have fallen victim to opposition groups meant to be under US control, Russia's Permanent Mission to the United Nations said in a statement assessing how Russia-US agreements on Syria are being implemented.

“From February to September the opposition groups that are supposed to be under the US control committed 2,031 violations of the [cessation of hostilities], which claimed lives of 3,532 military personnel and 12,800 civilians,” the Mission’s statement, published on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry, reads.

The mission states further that while Russia fulfilled its part of the bargain and negotiated with the Syrian authorities to make the cessation of hostilities possible, Washington failed to deliver on its promise to negotiate the same with the US-backed ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition.

“Russia guaranteed the implementation of the [cessation of hostilities] by the Syrian government. The US on the other hand was not capable to insure the implementation of the [cessation of hostilities] by the armed groups.”

“Furthermore, the US failed to fulfill their February promise to separate Al-Nusra Front from ‘moderate’ opposition,” the mission stressed, adding that there are a number of other matters it regards as US failures in the combined efforts of the two states to bring peace to the Middle Eastern country. These include the failure to establish a valuable exchange of information about ceasefire violations, and the failure to facilitate humanitarian access to East Aleppo.

The mission stressed that Russia, for its part, ensured the withdrawal of Syrian Army forces from Castello road to give way to a humanitarian convoy twice, as well as the establishment of a manned check point for truck inspection on the government-controlled side, while the US failed to do the same on the side controlled by militants.

The mission noted that its conclusions are based on a fact-based comparative analysis of the Russia-US agreements and their implementation within the past months. It has submitted this analysis to a number of high-ranking officials within the United Nations and to several human rights organizations in order to “shed some light on true reasons that hinder the Russia-US agreements implementation.”

“Russia is open for a continued cooperation in a wide range of areas of the settlement of the Syrian crisis with its partners, including the US. But this cooperation is only possible on the basis of equal rights and a principle of responsible discharge of the respective functions,” the mission stated.

The armed conflict has been raging in Syria since March 2011. Government troops confronted the militants of different armed groups. The figures on the number of victims of the conflict differ. According to the United Nations, around 300,000 Syrians have been killed during the war.

The Russian Institute of Oriental Studies, however, using data from the Syrian Central Bureau of Statistics, carried out its own investigation, and estimated the number of Syrians killed to be around 105,000, RIA Novosti news agency reported.

According to that study, 45,000 of those killed served in the Syrian Army and government-controlled militia, 24,000 were militants from local militant groups, and 36,000 were civilians. The study also found that about 18,000 of those killed in Syria were foreign mercenaries of terrorist groups operating in the country — citizens of over 80 different countries.