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'Thousands killed' by Russian airstrikes in Syria

At least 3,000 people - including 893 members of so-called Islamic State - have been killed by Russian airstrikes in Syria since they began in the end of September, a monitoring group has claimed.

The figures came after British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said hundreds of civilians had died in the bombing raids, adding that he was "increasingly disturbed" by Russia's intervention in the war-torn country.

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Britain 'increasingly disturbed' by Russia's Syria bombing

Michael Fallon said Russia was responsible for civilian deaths. Credit: PA

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said he is "increasingly disturbed" by Russian bombings in Syria, amid reports that many attacks have killed civilians.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of defence ministers in Paris, Mr Fallon said:
"The casualty total keeps climbing. We have estimates of several hundred civilians killed through the use of unguided munitions on civilian areas and opposition groups fighting ([Syrian President Bashar al] Assad."

"That I deplore," he added. Propping up the Assad regime is simply prolonging the agony. On the contrary, Russia should be using its influence to make it clear that Assad has no future in Syria."

He added that it was time to capitalise on recent setbacks for the so-called Islamic State, and said the US-led coalition should aim to cut off the "head of the snake" of the radical group by tightening its noose around the Syrian stronghold Raqqa.

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