UN accuses Russia of raids on Syrian hospitals
The UN has asked Russia for detailed information on how it has been using the location coordinates of hospitals in Syria. The demand was prompted by a series of airstrikes by the Russian-Syrian coalition in the Syrian provinces of Idlib and Hama in which several schools and more than two dozen medical institutions were hit.
The hospital coordinates are given by the UN to the conflicting parties as part of a humanitarian resolution system in order to protect them from attacks, Radio Liberty notes. However, the hospitals have been hit from the air since the Russia-backed Syrian forces began their offensive on Idlib at the end of April.
“Attacks on facilities whose coordinates were given as part of the UN’s system to prevent conflicts are simply unacceptable. Now certain partners think that giving geographical coordinates to the warring parties is like painting a target on their back,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock told the Security Council.
He noted that several people have concluded that the bombardment of hospitals is a “premeditated tactic aimed at terrorizing people”.
Recently the British newspaper The Independent reported that Syrian doctors have started to conceal the location of their clinics from the UN. An open letter signed by dozens of doctors from around the world and published by The Independent states that the attacks on medical institutions by the Syrian government and Russia have forced the hospitals, which are already operating under exceptional circumstances, to provide treatment only in the most urgent circumstances.
Of course, officially Damascus and the Russian command claim that the attacks only target militant facilities as confirmed by their intelligence. Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya urged the Security Council to verify the information on the situation in Syria before broadcasting it from the council podium.
“I must say that the information disseminated from the Security Council’s high podium sometimes contradicts the operational information directly from the de-escalation zones. This is evidence of attempts to politicize the Syrian humanitarian dossier,” the Russian diplomat said at a Security Council session.