The civilian casualty ratio is high in Russian airstrikes. Over the last month of raids, airstrikes killed more civilians than the targeted ISIS fighters.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group utilizing a network of local activities, revealed that Russian air strikes led to the deaths of 403 civilians. Among these casualties are 97 children and 69 women. These figures outnumbered the Islamist victims. A total of 381 Islamists died, composed of a mixture of ISIS and other radical rebel groups.
The group has monitored casualties from Oct 20 to Nov 20, revealing that Russia has carried out a total 42,234 air strikes.
In a related news, Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border on Tuesday. In its defense, Turkey claimed that the jet violated air space, which Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected. According to President, the plane was attacked when it was a kilometer inside Syria already. Putin also promised serious consequences would befall Turkey. "We will never tolerate such crimes like the one committed today," Putin said. "This incident stands out against the usual fight against terrorism. Our troops are fighting heroically against terrorists, risking their lives. But the loss we suffered today came from a stab in the back delivered by accomplices of the terrorists," Putin added.
Turkey clarified its stance with a letter to the UN Security Council. In the letter, it was detailed that the jet was shot down because it flown more than a mile into Turkey for 17 seconds. The letter also detailed how the Russian plane was warned 10 times to change its course, in five minutes while approaching.
In his speech in Ankara, the Turkish president claimed that they did their best to avoid such incident, but at the same time, found it necessary to defend their borders. Nobody should doubt that we made our best efforts to avoid this latest incident. But everyone should respect the right of Turkey to defend its borders," President Tayyip Erdogan said.
The President added that in the past, they were able to avoid worse incidents because of their cool-headedness. In reality, Turkish airspace has already been violated for several times. Senior Turkish officials also told Reuters that they did what they needed to do under the circumstances. "The data we have is very clear. There were two planes approaching our border, we warned them as they were getting too close," an official shared. "Our findings show clearly that Turkish airspace was violated multiple times. And they violated it knowingly."
Other countries are currently trying to prevent an escalation from happening. US President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande met in Washington and warned against escalation. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg however, asserted that the military alliance is with Turkey on this one. There are also fears that the latest spat between Turkey and Russia would become World War III.