Russian Pilots Bombed Syrian Civilians, We Have Evidence | Visual Investigations

Russian Pilots Bombed Syrian Civilians, We Have Evidence | Visual Investigations

It’s the morning
of July 22, 2019. A neighborhood in the
Syrian city of Maaret al Numan has just been hit
by an airstrike. Rescuers are rushing
to the scene when warnings of another
attack come over the radio. As the camera tilts upward,
it captures a small speck in the sky. This is a Russian plane, and it’s about to strike
the city again. For years, Russia
has been suspected of recklessly bombing
civilians in Syria as they try to break the
remaining pockets of resistance to President Assad. They’ve strongly denied it, and proving their role
has been all but impossible. But now we have evidence. [Sirens blaring] Earlier Times investigations
established that the Russian air force repeatedly
bombed hospitals in Syria, and this latest investigation
traces how Russian pilots also launched some of the deadliest
attacks on civilians in 2019. [Shouting and sirens] At the core of
our investigations are intercepted cockpit
recordings of Russian pilots and air controllers. Combined with video and photo
data and warplane sightings, these recordings provide
a critical missing link that show how,
in two recent airstrikes, Russian pilots killed
dozens of civilians. First, we’ll take a look
at this settlement for displaced people in
Syria’s last rebel-held area. It’s called Qaryat al Rahma,
or “Village of Mercy.” This isolated complex
was located near the city of Hass, around 8 miles
from the nearest front line, and was home
to over 100 families uprooted by years of war. One resident told us that
families use the evening time to sit outside and cool off. Near sunset on Aug. 16, he
heard planes flying overhead. It was a devastating strike. And here’s how
the evidence shows that Russia was responsible. This photo, taken by
a local journalist immediately after impact, is
a crucial piece of the puzzle. We know it was taken in Hass
because the features match earlier drone
footage of the town. The buildings and
pylons are all the same. And shrouded in smoke
is the settlement for displaced people. We know because these windows
and the mast on the roof also match the drone footage
of the camp. Using the picture’s file data, we verified it was taken
at 7:17 p.m. on Aug. 16, pinpointing the exact
time of the attack. What was happening in
the skies around this time? Five minutes
before the strike, observers spotted and logged
a Russian warplane over a nearby town. And at precisely 7:17,
we hear a Russian pilot, with a call sign 464,
launch an attack. The weapon landed in the
middle of a courtyard where families had gathered. The blast leveled buildings,
and the scene is carnage. [Shouting] The dead include a pregnant
woman, her husband and their 2-year-old child. In all, 19 residents
of the camp are killed, and 13 more are wounded. Another deadly attack
this summer occurred just 4 miles away
in Maarat al Numan — a densely populated
city in the heart of opposition-controlled
territory. On Monday morning,
July 22, the city was hit repeatedly
by airstrikes. The attack sparked
so much outrage that Russia was
forced to respond. They denied involvement. But the combined evidence
of witness videos, flight logs and cockpit recordings
contradict this and show how Russian Pilot 17
killed over 20 people in just half an hour. We’ve retraced what
happened minute by minute. It’s 8:31 a.m. Pilot 17 receives a target,
and four minutes later he launches a weapon,
calling it “candy,” and prepares a second attack. The strike levels
an entire building in a busy commercial
area in the city. Local journalist
Mohamed Sharawi films his rush to the scene. As the dust clears,
he joins first responders who try to reach victims through the rear of
an adjacent building. Above them,
the Russian pilot is preparing to launch again,
in two minutes, at 44 minutes past the hour. Mohammad and the others
take cover, as flight spotters warn of another attack. He looks up and films a
Russian fighter jet overhead. The pilot launches his weapon. Then the explosion. [Explosion] It’s what’s known
as a double tap. It hits almost exactly
the same location and kills a rescue worker. At 8:54, Pilot 17 confirms
his third strike in the city, hitting a building
around 800 yards away. [Explosion] Minutes later, he calculates
his fourth and final round — and strikes another building
on the outskirts of the town. [Explosion] The number killed is estimated
at between 23 and 42 people, including two children — making it one of
the worst attacks on a civilian area this year. The Russians are by no
means alone in this. Combined with Syrian
attacks, the U.N. says, over 1,000 civilians
in northwest Syria have been killed or injured
since April — hundreds of them children. So why is Russia
attacking civilians? Experts tell us
it’s the same reason they’re bombing hospitals. It’s all part of a strategy to
break the will of the people, force them to flee, and to
help the Syrian government retake the last
opposition stronghold. And after more than
eight years of war and very little in the way
of consequences, Russia shows no signs
of slowing down.

100 thoughts on “Russian Pilots Bombed Syrian Civilians, We Have Evidence | Visual Investigations

  1. Those attacks are absolutely disgraceful but it‘s hypcritical that the ny times focus on these attacks while the us kills civilians every day

  2. Russians just LOVE war and killing helpless civilians. Just like they shot down that civilian airliner over Ukraine.

  3. I'm suprised they didn't try to tell us Trump was flying the plane…. NYT is often extremely fake, or misleading news.

    On a new note… This is a terrorist attack, and should be labeled as such

  4. Yes and now what? Nobody is going to stop Russia and have "justice". Great Investigation but to me it doesnt seem that actions against Russia are taken by other countries

  5. Why did they do it? Because they can. Because nobody will stop them. They lie about it and everyone knows they are lying. Putin just smiles. Disgusting.

  6. THIS IS A WAR CRIME. Hospitals cannot be bombed. Civilians cannot become a target. There are U.N. Treaties that assure it- and punished with embargos.

  7. The United States 🇺🇸 bombs 💣 🏥 hospitals too

  8. I'm one of the reporters on this story. This is the third in a series of investigations that The Times is conducting into attacks on civilians, hospitals and other protected facilities. At the center of our investigations are cockpit recordings of Russian and Syrian pilots carrying out their attacks. For each story, we interview multiple witnesses to the attacks and obtain the original video and photo evidence of the attacks. Each image contains metadata, or file information, which allows us to calculate precisely the minute the attack happened, and the intervals between strikes when there are multiple attacks. By comparing these to the time-coded cockpit recordings, we can establish who was flying at the time, and who launched bombs at that precise time. For the first time in the Syrian conflict, that allows us to identify those responsible for some of the most egregious attacks on civilians in this conflict.

    Every time we publish these stories, we are attacked on YouTube and elsewhere for somehow being pro-America and anti-Russia, anti-Syria. Many of our stories investigate denials and disinformation about human rights abuses and potential war crimes. Our job is to find the truth and hold the powerful to account, irrespective of who they are. This year we forced the US military to admit responsibility for an airstrike on a family home in Afghanistan, where 9 members of a family were killed. We investigated the US role in supporting attacks on healthcare and civilians in Yemen. And we called bullshit on disinformation circulated by US officials on social media, Sunday talk shows and the UN Security Council about who was responsible for burning American aid on a bridge into Venezuela. We are transparent with our evidence and reporting and we follow the truth wherever it leads.

    Please watch more of our work on the Visual Investigations YouTube playlist, and subscribe to our channel for the next ones.

    Read more about our methodology here:

  9. If anybody watching we're next America is next the country that was once one nation under God will become an astonishment seek Jesus while you can seek Jesus while he still there Jesus is the truth the way and the life read 55 chapters of Jeremiah and read the whole book in 1 or two years you will get your wake up call

  10. Remember when The New York Times referred to "al baghdadi" as a religious scholar and had to retract the story but called a 15 year old boy a "domestic terrorist"? Good times.

  11. You are sitting in your home safe tucked comfortably inside a blanket while at the same time somewhere else on this Earth, a dozen people have died in an attack that they never intended to be a part of. It aches your very soul and you end up questioning whether we are human or not. I can only hope and pray that the children and the people of war-torn Syria get to see a peaceful future. 🙏🏼🤲🏻

  12. Sad but this is the reality nowadays. I wouldn't be suprise when this kids affected will soon enough turn radical and have their revenge on Russia.

  13. Malachy a chara, please do some reports on the Turkish attacks on Kurdish and Christian communities in last few days

  14. This is appalling. I hope someone shows the Russian pilots what their bombs are causing. I know that in war people lose their humanity but they are just dropping bombs from the sky and codenaming them "Candy". Any war is inhumane but bombing hospitals and civilians on purpose is beyond cruel and cowardly.

    About the comment section. Russian trolls and Kremlin sympathisers are clearly trying to direct your attention to conspiracy theories and misinformation. Lots of comments about everything else except what is on this video. Russia clearly doesn't want more people seeing this.

  15. When USA kills thousands of Iraq nobady act. Even when Russia don’t do as US everybody point at US.

    Russia has nukes, shut up before it used it!

  16. USA bombed my Country they target everything! They hit moving civilian train,Hospitals,Press buildings, Power plants, Killing more than 2000 Civilians Using bombs with Depleted Uranium poison grounds and people etc… ???This is just propaganda.

  17. The American government kills millions in the Middle East and I have proof as well. Russophobic Clintonism is as appalling as Trumpism, but more hypocritical. Free Assange!

  18. America is constantly trying to demonize russia and any other country that is a competitor on the international stage. Times is just a puppet or theyre idiots, america does the same with killing civilians

  19. Holding up a child, yells: “Are these terrorists, you sons of dogs”. Yes, we are. Russia & the US are the terrorists.

  20. The United States needs to stop selling weapons to other countries. And we need to stop pardoning are own war criminals. If an arms dealer that lets their own war criminals go free denounces another country for war crimes, who is going to listen?

  21. Yeah, America who throwed bombs at Serbian cities, hospitala, schools, vilages (calling it "merciful angel") talks about killing innocent people? Stfu you killed thousands of people and you talk about killing

  22. russia is straight-up evil! human life means nothing to them. they crush anyone and everyone who dares to disagree with them, even their own people. but only if they are small enough to be unable to effectively fight back, like these poor souls. russia is the bully on the playground but instead of just punching the smaller children and stealing their lunch money they also murder them!

  23. And still our leaders will be shaking Putin's hand and posing to photos with wide smiles on their faces. And we'll keep giving them our votes.

  24. It upsets me that most of the photographs or videos I see from Syria are complete terror. I’m so grateful for what I have and the freedom I have.

  25. thank you for bringing the Muslim plight into the light, but dont try and pretend that we don't bomb civilians also. At 3:17 you can see you have just recruited another member of isis.

  26. NYT you forgot to mention that Putin personally boarded a plane and bombed civilians, and Putin personally has children in Syria every day. Be precise NYT

  27. somebody is win, somebody is lose is on the turnament but someone is killing, someone is life is it a murder, crime and war is a big terrorist

  28. It's a New York times so that's why you ppl don't do visual investigation on US bombing in raqqa( Syria) or US bombing in Mosul buz that's against ur hypocrite govt policy in middle east….I m defending Russian bombing also …bt such a shame tht u ppl told urself a journalist or a investigator bt believe ur nothing just another puppet in US govt…thts it

  29. The U.S. went into Syria to defeat ISIS; now we are protecting the Kurds and Syrian oil fields. This is mission creep; time to leave. mission creep: a gradual shift in objectives during the course of a military campaign, often resulting in an unplanned long-term commitment.

  30. As if the US hasn't done anything …. Blame the Russians and soon say that China is the sponsor of Isis while giving weapons to Saudi Arabia

  31. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH Yip ok any footage with the "white helmets" in it you know is false and propaganda ridden, America and Pissrael funds ISIS end of story you scum.

  32. Godbless Russia and long live Assad!!!, may you push the vile and evil American invaders out and reclaim your oil fields and sovereignty

  33. It's hard not to civilians in this mess of a conflict, but it's also hard to believe Russia would go out of their way to prevent collateral damage even if their aim is good.

  34. The world has become such a horrible place. What is the point of it all. These monsters in power. What do they want. There is no humanity left in humans.

  35. It isn't absolutely clear from the videos, and is probably best so.. However.. Were the Russians just using unencrypted voice comms that could've been intercepted by anyone with a scanner?

  36. I cannot understand any of the conflicts in the arab region. Terrorism, who are the terrorists? Everyone! They terrorize the powerless people. The foreign powers that lend their hand to oppressive governments, The oppressive governments who want wealth and power, The crazy religious fundamentalists.

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