Moscow Rejects Ankara Accusations of Attacking Hospitals in Northern Syria

Moscow Rejects Ankara Accusations of Attacking Hospitals in Northern Syria
Tue Feb 16, 2016 18:30:45

Russia rebuffed Turkish claims Tuesday that its fighter jets hit medical centers in northern Syria, saying there is no evidence to support such accusations.

“Once again, we categorically reject and do not accept such statements,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said when asked whether Russian planes bombed hospitals in Syria.

He went on to say that those who make such claims “are unable to prove in any way their unsubstantiated accusations.”

Moscow prefers to rely on “first-hand sources” of information, which in this case would be the Syrian government, the Russian diplomat said.

On Monday, about 50 civilians, including children, lost their lives in bombings of at least five medical facilities and two schools in Syria's Aleppo and Idlib provinces. One of the hospitals, which were targeted in the attacks, was supported by the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry held Moscow responsible for the attacks, accusing the Kremlin of carrying out an “obvious war crime” in Syria. The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, affiliated to the foreign-backed Syria opposition groups, also blamed Russia for the deadly airstrikes.

However, Riad Haddad, Syria's ambassador to Moscow, accused the United States of bombing the MSF hospital. “Russian warplanes had nothing to do with any of it.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the strikes violated international law and “cast a shadow” over attempts aimed at bringing an end to Syria's five-year conflict.

Since September 2014, the US along with some of its allies has been conducting airstrikes against the alleged Daesh elements without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate, but the strikes have failed to disband the terrorists.

On the contrary, Russia launched its own campaign against Daesh and other terrorist groups in Syria last September upon a request from the Damascus government. The airstrikes have expedited the advances of Syrian forces against militants.

In a relevant development on Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu denounced Moscow's campaign in Syria as "barbaric," saying Russian planes have conducted close to 8,000 sorties in the Arab country over the past few months.

The remarks came a few days after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Saudi Arabia and Turkey could launch a ground operation in Syria. Since February 13, Turkey's military has been shelling positions of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria.

Turkey is widely believed to be among the main supporters of the militant groups operating in Syria, with reports saying that Ankara actively trains and arms the Takfiri terrorists there and facilitates their safe passage into the crisis-hit Arab state, Press TV reported.

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