Russia dismisses Syria campaign death toll allegation

Men carry injured people through the rubble of destroyed buildings following a reported air strike on the rebel-held northwestern Syrian city of Idlib on September 29, 2016 (AFP Photo/Omar Haj Kadour)

Moscow (AFP) - Russia on Friday dismissed an accusation its bombing campaign in Syria has killed thousands of civilians, insisting it has stopped jihadists taking over as it marks a year since it began air strikes.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday that more than 9,300 people -- including some 3,800 civilians -- had been killed in the year of Russian air strikes in Syria in support of President Bashar Al-Assad.

"We do not consider as reliable the information on the situation in Syria coming from this organisation, which is based in the United Kingdom," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

The toll released by the Observatory includes more than 2,700 jihadists from the Islamic State jihadist group and around 2,800 fighters from various rebel factions.

The monitor also said that at least 20,000 civilians have been wounded in Russian raids.

Peskov said that the Russian campaign's main objective had been to "assist Syrians and the Syrian army in the fight against terrorism."

"Taking into account that the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and Al-Nusra aren't sitting in Damascus, this is probably a positive result of the support our air force has provided to the legitimate armed forces of Syria," Peskov said.

Russia has been accused of indiscriminately bombing Aleppo's opposition-controlled east as it helps an assault currently being conducted by Syrian government troops to capture all of the country's second city.

A short-lived truce brokered by Moscow and Washington earlier this month could have led the two countries to coordinate strikes against jihadists, but the deal quickly unravelled.

The United Nations has warned that a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Aleppo unlike any witnessed so far in Syria's brutal five-year war, which has claimed more than 300,000 lives.

Russia said Thursday that it would continue its Syrian air campaign in spite of US warnings that Washington would pull the plug on talks unless Moscow stopped Aleppo assault.