Russia on Sunday accused the US-led coalition in Syria of having flattened Raqqa with a Dresden-like bombing campaign and masking the destruction with a rush of humanitarian aid.
Russia said the US has wiped the Syrian city of Raqqah “off the face of the earth” with carpet bombing in the same way the United States and Britain bombed Germany’s Dresden in 1945.
Raqqa – the capital of the Daesh group’s self-proclaimed caliphate – “inherited the fate of Dresden in 1945, razed to the ground by Anglo-American bombings,” AFP quoted the Russian Defense Ministry as saying in a statement.
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, recaptured Raqqa and its last major stronghold in Syria last week.
The SDF, which does not coordinate with the Syrian government and military, announced an operation against the terrorists in the city some four months ago.
The presence of US troops on the ground in Syria also lacks any mandate from the Syrian government. Damascus says it is a violation of its sovereignty.
The US and its allies have been bombarding what they call Daesh positions inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.
The airstrikes, however, have on many occasions resulted in civilian casualties and failed to fulfill their declared aim of countering terrorism.
Raqqa was overrun by Daesh in March 2013 and was declared the terrorist group’s “capital” in 2014.
US officials hailed the city’s capture from Daesh, led by President Donald Trump who, using another acronym for Daesh, said “the end of the ISIS caliphate is in sight.”
“The bravura statements by official representatives of the US administration about the ‘outstanding victory’ over Daesh in Raqqa prompt bafflement,” the Russian ministry said.
The US is overplaying the strategic significance of the fall of Raqqa, it charged.
In reality, Raqqa is a “provincial city” that is much smaller than Deir ez-Zor, where a Russian-backed Syrian forces’ operation is underway, the Russian ministry said.
It accused Western countries of pumping aid into Raqqa to mask the degree of destruction inflicted on the city.
Moscow, it said, had previously received only refusals from the West to its requests for international humanitarian aid.
“There is only one (reason) – the aim is to sweep away traces of barbaric bombings by US aviation and the ‘coalition’ that buried in Raqqa’s ruins thousands of peaceful citizens ‘liberated’ from the IS (Daesh),” the ministry said.