Exactly one year ago today, on September 30, Russia launched its air force operations in Syria. In words Russia declared the war on international terrorism. In deeds, however, it rather looked like Russia was trying to lead the ring. At first, in the pursuit to satisfy obscure and anachronistic geopolitical ambitions, Russia occupied Ukrainian Crimea and parts of Donbas, and then joined Bashar al-Assad in his mass murder of the Syrian people.
According to the report of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) only during the first 9 months of the Russian military offensive in Syria 3089 civilians became the victims of the Russian Air Force, 743 of them were children.
Amnesty International accused Russian Armed Forces of committing war crimes in Syria. In its report the organization stated that Russian aerial bombardments hit numerous civilian facilities, including residence buildings, mosques, shops, and medical facilities. International and human rights organizations repeatedly informed of the facts that RuAF deliberately attacked civilians and rescue teams, and also used different air-delivered munitions prohibited by international law, such as unguided missiles, cluster and bunker bombs (Betab-500), to target residence areas. During the recent meeting of the UN Security Council (Sept. 25, 2016, New York) official representatives of the U.S., UK, France and other countries sharply criticized Russian actions in Syria stressing that bombardments of civilian population were barbaric.
That said, it is obviously not enough to just list the facts and call them war crimes. No matter how often the UN Security Council gathers, press-conferences are held and deep concern is expressed, the criminal will go unpunished until his name is not called out loud and his degree of guilt is not clearly defined and proven.
Responsibility for war crimes and genocide of the Syrian people can not be depersonalized, because this will let the criminals avoid punishment. Justice can only be achieved if everyone who gave orders, who delivered the munitions to targets and who dropped the bombs, is identified and held personally liable.
International volunteer community InformNapalm has been gathering small pieces of data throughout the whole year to glean the portraits of war criminals – pilots and navigators of the Russian Air Group in Syria.
In our first report dated Oct. 2015 we released the information about 11 officers of the Russian Air Force. This release caused a big stir in Russian and international media. At that time Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary of Russian President Vladimir Putin, called the publication of pilots’ data “a hostile act” and promised that Russian security services “would take measures”. Indeed, the Russian Foreign Ministry made numerous attempts to exert political pressure on the countries where InformNapalm.org was hosted, demanding to shut down the website.
Despite this political pressure, cyberattacks by Russian-linked hackers, and attempts to discredit our volunteer project, we never stopped working. Our community continued to collect, analyze and publish information. In February 2016 InformNapalm presented the profiles of 32 RuAF officers. In May we released 58 profiles.
Today, on the anniversary of the Russian air campaign in Syria, InformNapalm is presenting a new report – 116 crew members of the Russian Air Group in Syria.
We ask all of you to study this information and actively share it on social networks and other media. While a war criminal believes no one will even know the truth and he can keep hiding behind vague collective expressions like “little green men”, “Russian Air Force” or “Russian officers”, he can be sure that his crimes will remain unpunished.
We hope that our publications will make Russian Air Force officers think about the consequences, refuse to execute criminal orders and stop the bloodshed. It is better to lose the job where military commanders groveling before Putin make you kill civilians, but save the thousands of innocent people and your honor.
Multipage infographics split according to the types of aircraft
(Click on the image to zoom in)
This material was prepared based on OSINT investigations by volunteers of international intel community InformNapalm.
Pre-publishing by Frazy Grant and Brundik
(CC BY) Information is specially prepared for InformNapalm.org; an active link (accessible for search engines) to the authors and our project for any reprint or further use of the material is required.