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Russia says Syria 'useful testing ground' for new weapons

Russian air raids in Syria have resulted in 3,800 civilian deaths in one year [AFP]

Date of publication: 6 October, 2016

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Defence Minister Sergei Shogu has said Russia's intervention has 'stabilised' Syria and its killing fields a good place for Moscow to test out its latest weaponry.
Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has claimed that Moscow's year-long bombing campaign in Syria has illustrated the "reliability" of Russian weaponry.

He also said that Russian air raids - responsible for at least 10,000 deaths - has helped to bring "stability" to the war-torn country.

"In that [one-year] period we have managed to stabilise the situation in the country [and] liberate a significant part of the territory from armed international terrorist groups," Shoigu told a press conference.

He then went on to say that Syria has been a testing ground for the latest weaponry developed by Moscow scientists.

This includes long-range missiles fired from ships, submarines and warplanes.

"Many types of modern weapons produced in our country were tested in difficult desert conditions and generally have shown their reliability and effectiveness."

Shoigu's comments come amid international outrage over a Syrian regime assault on rebel-held East Aleppo that has seen Russian warplanes involved in air raids that have left hundreds of people - mostly civilians - dead in the city.

Events in Aleppo have also forced the Obama administration to reconsider the prospect of military intervention against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad leading to concerns over a potential direct US-Russian confrontation.

Since Russia began its military intervention in Syria in September 2015 Moscow has repeatedly denied that its war planes have targetted civilian areas.

However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has claimed that in one year Russian air raids in Syria have resulted in approximately 3,800 civilian deaths including hundreds of children.

Humanitarian watchdogs including Amnesty International have claimed that Moscow might be guilty of committing war crimes in Syria.

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