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‘Go back to Raqqa & bury bodies’: Putin calls for investigation into strikes on civilians in Syria

© Zohra Bensemra / Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said there should be an investigation into the massive airstrikes on residential areas in Syria’s Raqqa. Putin pointed out that the dead are still unburied and corpses are lying in the ruins.

“As for crimes, go back to Raqqa and at least bury the dead bodies, which are still lying amid the ruins after the air strikes on residential neighborhoods – and investigate these attacks,” the Russian leader said as he sat down for an “at times combative” interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly. Putin also raised the point that the battle for Iraq’s Mosul involving the US-led forces left the city “razed to the ground.”

The interview heated up when the two were speaking about Syria, when the anchor asked about alleged chemical attacks, for which the West blames the Syrian government. Those claims were rebuffed as “fake news” by the Russian leader. Putin stressed that Damascus destroyed its stockpile of chemical weapons long ago, and the militants aimed “to simulate chemical attacks” which were then blamed on the Syrian army.

“All the attempts that have been made repeatedly in the recent past, and all the accusations were used to consolidate the efforts against Assad,” Putin told the journalist. As Kelly continued to ask about alleged chemical attacks that led to civilian deaths, Putin noted that there had been no thorough investigation into what had happened in Syria.

“Russia is for a full-scale investigation. If you do not know this, I am telling you this now. It is not true that we are against an objective investigation. That is a lie.”