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Kremlin Rejects Claims Of Civilian Casualties In Syria Air Strikes

The government of Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected claims by the New York-based Human Rights Watch that Russian air strikes in Syria may have caused dozens of civilian deaths.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow on October 26 that "we have seen a huge number of media hoaxes and deliberate data releases" about the air strikes and "this report is probably one of those."

On October 25, Human Rights Watch called on Moscow to investigate reports that 59 civilians had been killed. According to the NGO, 46 members of one extended family -- including 32 children -- were killed in a strike on a house in the central Syrian city of Homs. Another 13 civilians were allegedly killed in a second air strike that hit a bakery.

Both incidents reportedly occurred on October 15.

Peskov said the Russian military is carefully selecting the targets for its air strikes keeping in mind the "safety of the civilian population."

Based on reporting by Reuters and Interfax