Daily Management Review

War Crime Claims over Bombing Syria Health Facilities Rejected by Russia


02/16/2016




Strong rejections of liabilities for e death of dozens of people killed in strikes on medical facilities and schools in rebel-controlled areas of Syria on Monday came from Russia on Tuesday.

“We categorically do not accept such statements, the more so as every time those making these statements are unable to prove their unfounded accusations in any way,” a spokesman for Vladimir Putin said.

The strikes on two locations by forces supporting Bashar al-Assad amount to war crimes, said western diplomats including Turkey and France.  

Bigger and more serious consequences would be inevitable if Russia did not immediately end air strikes warned Turkey’s foreign ministry and accused Russia of carrying out an “obvious war crime”.

“If Russia continues behaving like a terrorist organisation and forcing civilians to flee, we will deliver an extremely decisive response,” Turkey’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, said.

France was less forthright in its language.

The attacks “could constitute war crimes”, said the foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault.

“Attacks against health facilities in Syria by the regime or its supporters are unacceptable and must stop immediately”, said the foreign minister.

Turkey could be drawn further into the conflict by the ongoing violence. Ankara on Tuesday called on its coalition partners, including the US, to take part in a joint ground operation in Syria to try to end the war alarmed by Kurdish expansion near its border.

“Turkey is not going to have a unilateral ground operation. We are asking coalition partners that there should be a ground operation. We are discussing this with allies. We want a ground operation. If there is a consensus, Turkey will take part. Without a ground operation, it is impossible to stop this war,” said a Turkey official.

Totalling 14 so far this year, Monday’s strikes were the latest in a series of attacks on medical facilities and workers. An agreement in Munich about a “cessation of hostilities” could be implemented this week have been dashed by the strikes and have underlined Assad’s warning that implementing a truce would prove difficult.

Seven people were killed when a facility it supports in Maaret al-Numan, Idlib province said Médecins Sans Frontières. Te facility was hit four times in two separate raids. Either Russia or Syrian government forces were responsible, said Mego Terzian, MSF’s France president.

Financed by the medical charity, the hospital also supplies medicine and equipment apart from housing 30 beds and 54 staff.

There was no doubt Russia was to blame, said the UK’s former development secretary Andrew Mitchell.

“It is certainly a war crime. The Russian air force have now hit 30 hospitals in Syria, of which only one is in an Isil [Islamic State] area. MSF is careful to make clear where their people are on the ground to all the combatants. Everyone knew this is an MSF hospital and undoubtedly this is a breach of international law and the Russians are guilty of that,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said the raids violated international law and “cast a shadow” over efforts to end Syria’s five-year civil war.

(Source:www.reuters.com) 






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