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Tue Apr 7, 2020, 10:25 AM

UN inquiry stops short of directly blaming Russia over Idlib attacks

Source: The Guardian

UN inquiry stops short of directly blaming Russia over Idlib attacks

Report says ‘government of Syria and/or its allies’ carried out strikes on hospitals and school

Bethan McKernan Middle East correspondent
Tue 7 Apr 2020 10.50 BST
Last modified on Tue 7 Apr 2020 14.57 BST

A UN investigation has stopped short of directly calling Russia a perpetrator in attacks on hospitals and other humanitarian infrastructure in rebel-held areas of Syria, a move greeted with disappointment from rights groups.

A summary of a 185-page internal report submitted to the UN security council on Monday said that in five of seven cases studied – among them four medical sites, a school and a children’s centre – “the government of Syria and/or its allies had carried out the airstrike”, but it did not explicitly name Russia, Bashar al-Assad’s most important military and political ally.

The coordinates of all the sites had been registered as part of the UN’s deconfliction system and shared with Moscow and other warring parties in order to prevent attacks.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said: “The refusal to explicitly name Russia as a responsible party working alongside the Syrian government … is deeply disappointing.”

War monitors and the health directorate of north-western Idlib province, Syria’s last rebel-held stronghold, say at least 70 healthcare facilities have been hit by regime and Russian bombing in the last 12 months. Last year the New York Times published an exhaustive investigation, notably including recordings of Russian pilots, that directly incriminated Russia in attacks on hospitals in rebel areas.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/07/un-inquiry-stops-short-of-directly-blaming-russia-over-idlib-attacks-syria

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