Russia’s deliberate targeting of vital civilian infrastructure in Syria, especially hospitals and medical facilities, has triggered widespread condemnation, especially after the Russian air force bombed a hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Ma’aret al-Nouman on Monday.
The United States condemned the Russian airstrikes conducted in and around Aleppo yesterday “against innocent civilian targets, including a hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières and the Women’s and Children’s hospital in Azaz city.”
In a statement released on Monday, the US State Department’s spokesman John Kirby said that “the Assad regime and its supporters would continue these attacks, without cause and without sufficient regard for international obligations to safeguard innocent lives.”
Kirby added that these attacks “flies in the face of the unanimous calls by the ISSG, including in Munich, to avoid attacks on civilians and casts doubt on Russia’s willingness and/or ability to help bring to a stop the continued brutality of the Assad regime against its own people.”
Turkey’s foreign ministry on Monday said that Russia’s airstrikes on hospitals and schools in Syria constitute “obvious war crimes” and strongly condemned the attacks. It warned that bigger and more serious consequences would be inevitable if Russia did not immediately end such attacks.
The ministry added that the attacks clearly constitute war crimes under international law, and deepen the crisis in Syria. The Turkish foreign ministry urged Russia to immediately stop such attacks to prevent a greater catastrophe.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini branded the Idlib attack “completely unacceptable” and urged “all parties to respect basic principles of humanitarian law.”
“These attacks follow a series of similar assaults against civilian infrastructure happening on an almost daily basis across Syria which are in clear violation of international humanitarian law,” Mogherini said in a statement issued on Monday. “Humanitarian organizations carrying out life-saving work in very difficult conditions must be protected.”
“Innocent civilians have already suffered so much in five years of this bloody conflict and must be protected,” she added.
The UN said airstrikes on at least five medical facilities and two schools in Aleppo and Idlib provinces killed nearly 50 civilians including children.
Deputy spokesperson for the UN Secretary General Farhan Haq said Ban Ki-moon considered such attacks as “blatant violations of international law.” (Source: Agencies)