MOSCOW, June 6. /TASS/. The testimony given by witnesses and human rights activists dispel the Western myth of the "liberation" of Raqqa - a Syrian city that was essentially bombed into oblivion in an operation by the US-led coalition, said Artyom Kozhin, Director of the Information and Press Department at the Russian Foreign Ministry. The diplomat’s response to a media question was published on the ministry’s website on Wednesday.
"The assault on this large Syrian city and the center of the namesake province lasted until October 17, , when it was declared to have been cleared of IS [the Islamic State, a terror organization, outlawed in Russia,]" Kozhin noted. "In Raqqa, the coalition secured its main victory in Syria. The world is just starting to learn the price of this victory for ordinary Syrians."
"Reports from various sources on this issue dispel the official Western myth about the ‘liberation’ of this city," the diplomat stressed. "Raqqa was mostly reduced to rubble, and a substantial and immeasurable part of its population was killed and buried under the wreckage."
The Russian Foreign Ministry official pointed to the evidence of a high-ranking US military officer which surfaced in the media and which says that, in particular, "the number of projectiles launched on Raqqa in the four-month assault is higher than anywhere else since the end of the Vietnam War." "The results of the use of US artillery and British and French aviation are visible at almost every turn there," Kozhin pointed out. "No one is rebuildnig the ruins - there are no authorities in the occupied city that would care for the fate of the remaining residents."
The evidence of a recent report by Amnesty International on the fate of four typical families in this city - the Aswads, the Khashishs, the Badrans and the Fayads - is shocking, Kozhin said. "Each of them lost at least a dozen of their relatives, who were not linked to IS in any way, during the ‘liberation,’" he continued. "The surviving family members state that there were no IS members nearby at the moment of the strikes."
"Everyone was killed in Raqqa: both those who tried to escape and those who stayed behind. The ‘liberators’ did not differ between the militants’ positions and the houses in which civilian residents were hiding," the diplomat specified.
"During the evaluation of the effects of the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force - which was not followed by any measures to reduce the risks of civilian fatalities or minimize the inflicted damage - Amnesty International, which can hardly be suspected of sympathizing with the Syrian ‘regime,’ came to the conclusion that the actions of the pro-American coalition in Raqqa ought to be potentially regarded as a human rights violation and in some cases investigated as war crimes as well," Kozhin stressed. "I want to underscore that this is not our conclusion, but that of the international human rights activists."