Local media reports that Russian jets have struck a refugee camp along Jordan’s north-eastern border with Syria, killing at least 12 people.
There has been no immediate comment from Russia although it is understood that “a senior Western diplomat” confirmed the incident and said initial information was that several Russian jets conducted the raids.
According to Reuters,
“Staunch US ally Jordan has stepped up coordination with Moscow to ensure its military campaign in southern Syria does not target moderate rebel groups aligned on the so-called Southern Front that a coalition of Western and Arab countries support.
Their backing is part of a strategy of ensuring opposition-held southern Syria does not fall into the hands of radical jihadist groups such as al Qaeda’s Nusra and Islamic State.
At least 40 people, mostly women and children, were injured in the strike. Jordanian army troops on the border helped rush the injured to hospitals inside the country, a Jordanian source said.”
The reported strike comes a day after Moscow announced a raid by strategic bombers. Six long range bombers flying from bases in southern Russia struck targets in eastern Syria, the Russian military said in a statement.
It is doubtful those aircraft were involved in the reported attack near Hadalat.
In March 2016, Russia ordered the withdrawal of the “main part” of the Russian forces from the country. Russian military operations in Syria have continued, albeit at a lower intensity.
According to Human rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Doctors Without Borders, war crimes were committed by the Russian military during the conflict, including targeting of hospitals and civilians.
The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has claimed that between the initiation of the intervention in September 2015 and February 2016, Russian air strikes have killed 1,000 civilians, including 200 children; the Russian government denies it has been hitting civilian areas and insists it is dropping bombs only on terrorist targets.
However, the Russian military intervention has produced significant gains for the Syrian Army, including the recapture of Palmyra in March 2016.