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The Daily Vertical: Putin's Syrian Victims (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

So Russia has now killed more civilians in Syria than Islamic State.

Now just let that sink in for a minute. Russia has become a bigger killer in Syria than Islamic State.

According to a new report by the Syrian Network for Human Rights, from September 30, 2015, to July 31, 2016, Russia has killed at least 2,704 civilians, including 746 children.

Now, since Islamic State first emerged in Syria back in April 2013, it has killed 2,686 civilians, including 368 children.

WATCH: Today's Daily Vertical

Now these numbers are pretty remarkable when you consider that Moscow's stated goal when it intervened in Syria was to defeat Islamic State.

But that, of course, was never the Kremlin's real objective.

One objective was to prop up the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Another objective was to prove that Russia had returned to the ranks of world powers.

But mostly, Vladimir Putin's intervention in Syria was about wrong-footing the West, ending Russia's international isolation, and establishing a bargaining chip that could be used in the Ukraine crisis.

It was a big exercise in geopolitical blackmail and geopolitical extortion.

And to a degree, it worked. Moscow achieved many of its objectives.

And all it had to do to achieve them was to commit what the Syrian Network for Human Rights has called war crimes.

All it had to do was to become a bigger killer of civilians and of children than Islamic State.

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