the home of online investigations

You can support the work of Bellingcat by donating through the following link:

Civilian Harm as a Result of Alleged Russian Airstrikes

October 31, 2018

By Syrian Archive

Several years of monitoring alleged Russian airstrikes in Syria reveals a pattern of indiscriminate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure. In an analysis of 3303 videos documenting alleged Russian airstrikes from 116 sources between 30 September 2015 and 9 September 2018, Syrian Archive has identified 1418 incidents in which Russian forces allegedly targeted civilians or civilian infrastructure of little to no military value. Content included in this database can be viewed, analysed and downloaded.

A timeline of weekly alleged Russian airstrikes on Syrian civilians and civilian infrastructure is provided below:

While data presented in this collection does not include all incidents of alleged Russian airstrikes on civilians between 2015 and 2018, it presents all incidents for which visual content was available and verifiable as of the date of publication. Syrian Archive hopes this will support reporting, advocacy, research, and accountability efforts.

These databases includes verified videos that show:

  • Airstrikes published by the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD)
  • Casualties as a result of alleged Russian attacks including children and women
  • People being treated in medical facilities and other locations including children and women as a result of the alleged Russian attacks
  • Remnants of munitions used in alleged Russian attacks
  • Alleged Russian attacks impact sites, including civilian homes, mosques, schools, bakeries, hospitals, markets, and cultural properties
  • Alleged Russian attacks against humanitarian relief personnel and objects
  • Alleged Russian attacks on water sources
  • Witness testimonies of alleged Russian attacks from victims, medical workers, and civilians through video interviews
  • Information about locations of alleged Russian attacks
  • Details on names of people killed or affected as a result of alleged Russian attacks
  • Rescue missions by humanitarian groups to help victims of the alleged Russian attacks
  • Engineering experts removing the remnants of unexploded munitions
  • Russian aircrafts launching airstrikes on civilian locations

This open source database is fully searchable and queryable by date, location, keyword, relevance, and confidence score. It consists of two collections: 1) various documentation efforts of citizen journalists, media groups, humanitarian groups, human rights groups and others in Syria, and 2) archived and geolocated videos published by the Russian Ministry of Defence. Both collections have been fully verified by Syrian Archive staff.

Added value

There have been several efforts by various parties to document atrocities and human rights violations committed by Russian forces in Syria. These include efforts by the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic and by many human rights monitoring organisations (e.g., Syrian Network for Human Rights, Violations Documentation Center, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Syrian American Medical Society, Syrians for Truth and Justice, and many others).

The added value of the publication of this collection is that every piece of data is preserved, verified, standardised, and clustered into incidents.

Additional metadata has been added to the database, making it to be searchable. This is useful for journalists, lawyers and human rights monitors, and investigators for reporting, advocacy and accountability work.

It is possible to search the database using keywords. This means a user can search for attacks, filtered by the use of particular munitions, a particular location, or a particular type of target (e.g., medical facilities). Results can be sorted by relevance, date or the number of videos and reports provided for each incident. The map and timeline can be used to see the scale and breadth of attacks.

Here you can find the full investigation as well as the database.

Bellingcat’s research for this publication was supported by PAX for Peace.

Syrian Archive is a open source platform that collects, curates, verifies, and preserves visual documentation of human rights violations in #Syria | Twitter: @syrian_archive

Join the Bellingcat Mailing List:

Enter your email address to receive a weekly digest of Bellingcat posts, links to open source research articles, and more.


  1. EMH

    “Alleged Russian attacks”? “Highly likely” BS goes on. You are full of shit and only idiots will continue to buy this baseless, zero-evidence, irrational crap.

    • john

      Likely that the Russians commit war crimes. But so do the western allies in regular and covert military and non-military actions why does Bellingcat research only possible Russian war crimes? If Bellingcat really wants to get to the bottom of things they should start at the beginning, 9-11! What about doing a research about what exactly happened that day I dare all researchers that work for Bellingcat to do research on that day, that defining moment where this shit all started.

      • Jeroen

        You are very ill informed

        Belingcat DOES research possible war crimes by other countries then Russia like the US airstrike on the Mosque near Al-Jinah or SA airstrikes in Yemen to mention some examples.
        Please feel free to do some quality homework research yourself and provide it at BC for publication, most welcome.
        9-11 included

    • Not Putin

      You don’t like the findings so it is automatically “crap”? Would you be happier if they just stopped using the word “Russia”? Perhaps they could just say “a country in support of Assad with a large military presence in the country which often kills civilians with air strikes”? Would that help you stop throwing tantrums?

  2. craigsummers


    “……..But so do the western allies in regular and covert military and non-military actions why does Bellingcat research only possible Russian war crimes?……..”

    Focusing on Russian atrocities is a good thing since Russia denies everything (Skripal, MH17, the invasions of Crimea and eastern Ukraine, etc.). If you don’t feel comfortable here, you can always go post at ConsortiumNews where the late great Robert Parry ran an extremely anti-American blog – or did you already drop them a complaint because of their bias?

  3. Jeremy

    Serious question: Is it appropriate to consider the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights a legitimate source when it’s run by a clothing shop owner from his home in Coventry and has the rebel flag as it’s emblem?

    • Jeroen

      That is no serious question at all Jeremy.

      Do not try smearing just provide facts we can check about the quality, or lack of if you wish so, of the works itself by the SOoHR.

  4. DavidB

    This is typical of the Russian strategy regarding urban warfare: urban warfare requires a lot of ground troops trained for house to house cleaning, precise munitions, and the Russians lack both in Syria. So their strategy for some years is the following: bomb all vital infrastructure like hospitals, food storage, water treatment installations. Look at what happened in Syrian cities, this pattern is reproduced multiple times. This forces civilians to flee and leaves only fighters, so Russians can bomb and destroy the city and enemy fighters together. The problem is that this strategy is a war crime according to the Geneva convention. So Russians also need to get rid of all witnesses like the White Helmets. Their solution to this problem was to start a disinformation war against them so they can call them ‘terrorists’ and bomb them.


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

You can support the work of Bellingcat by donating through the following link: