Russia Has Killed Almost 10,000 Syrians in the Past Year, Says a New Report

That includes nearly 4,000 civilians.

A Russian attack aircraft taking off from the Hemeimeem air base in SyriaRussian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Russia’s military has killed almost 10,000 people, including nearly 4,000 civilians, in Syria over the past year, according to a new report from a London-based group that monitors the Syrian civil war.

“The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights was able to document the death of 9364 civilians and fighters from the rebel and Islamic Factions, Fath al-Sham Front [formerly the Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front] and the ‘Islamic state’ in the past 12 months,” the group wrote on its website on Friday. Russian airstrikes have killed more civilians (3,804) than members of ISIS (2,746) or members of rebel and other Islamic groups (2,814), according to SOHR. The civilian death count includes 906 children under the age of 18.

The Russian air force started bombing operations in Syria last September in support of the Syrian government’s military. While the Russian government claimed the strikes were being carried out against ISIS, the air campaign has heavily targeted non-Islamist rebel groups and civilian areas held by rebels. Russian aircraft frequently strike hospitals and other medical facilities and have been blamed for the bombing of a UN aid convoy during a short-lived ceasefire last week.

Russian air support has allowed the Syrian regime to consolidate its battlefield gains and even advance in some areas, despite being short on soldiers and increasingly reliant on allies including Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend