The Russian Air Force has repeatedly bombed hospitals in northwestern Syria as part of the bombing campaign it launched in support of the Assad regime, according to an investigation by The New York Times.
An analysis of previously unpublished Russian Air Force radio recordings, plane-spotter logs and witness accounts allowed The New York Times to trace bombings of four hospitals in just 12 hours in May and tie Russian pilots to each one.
The 12-hour period beginning on 5 May represents a small slice of the air war in Syria, but it is a microcosm of Russia’s four-year military intervention in Syria’s war.
The NYT confirmed the four Russian airstrikes on May 5-6 through Russian Air Force radio transmissions obtained from an unidentified network of observers, flight-spotter logs and witness accounts.
“The spotter logs from May 5 and 6 put Russian pilots above each hospital at the time they were struck, and the Air Force audio recordings from that day feature Russian pilots confirming each bombing,” the paper said.
The four targeted hospitals were part of a voluntary deconfliction list designed to prevent them from being attacked, which was provided to combatants including Russia. The United Nations, which sponsors the deconfliction list, in August launched an inquiry into the hospital bombings.
The Telegraph newspaper on May 30 said that the UN shared coordinates of locations of hospitals and NGOs operating in Idlib with the Assad regime and Russia.
The Syrian National Coalition said that the Russian aggression against Syria was not limited to targeting medical facilities, schools and populated areas, but also led to the worsening of the situation and increasing crimes against Syrian civilians. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)