Russia says reports of Syria hospital strike ‘fake’
Maria Zakharova dismissed the widely circulated reports and dismissed the Observatory as lacking credibility
Moscow on Thursday denied reports of a Russian strike on a clinic in Syria as “fake”, attacking the Britain-based monitoring group behind the reports as no more reliable than a “pizzeria”.
“I want to deny all of this information,” said foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Wednesday that 13 people including medical staff were killed in Russian air strikes Tuesday against a field hospital in the northwestern province of Idlib that was run by the Syrian-American Medical Society.
A staffer at the clinic confirmed to AFP that the facility was hit and that at least two employees were killed, but did not specify whether the strike was conducted by Russian planes.
Zakharova dismissed the widely circulated reports and dismissed the Observatory as lacking credibility.
“These fakes are often published citing the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,” Zakharova said in a briefing in Moscow.
“It’s very convenient to report on what is going on in Syria from London without going on the ground,” she said.
In a tirade against Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman, she said the group was set up by a British national whom she described as “the owner of a fast food joint” with “neither a journalism degree nor a legal education... not even a secondary education”.
“One might as well cite a waiter in a pizzeria,” she said, adding that Russia would “continue to examine these fakes with close scrutiny.”
Syria aid delivery
Meanwhile, the International Committee for the Red Cross said that Russian air strikes in Syria are making it harder to deliver desperately needed aid to civilians suffering from the country’s brutal war.
“Air bombardment makes it more difficult for us to reach some areas,” said the head of the ICRC’s Middle East and North Africa operations, Robert Mardini.
“More use of weapons in any conflict will create additional difficulties in the humanitarian situation,” he told AFP in an interview in Damascus late Wednesday.
Earlier this week, the ICRC led a convoy of trucks delivering food and medical supplies to towns in western and northwest Syria as part of a truce reached at the end of September.
The six-month ceasefire also included the evacuation of wounded civilians from Fuaa and Kafraya, government-held villages in Syria’s northwest, and Zabadani and Madaya, rebel-held areas along the border with Lebanon.
Mardini said the conditions for safe evacuation “are not present today, and for this reason we are working on achieving them with all sides.
“What happened in terms of aid provision in recent days was a part of the ceasefire and a very good first step and it helped civilians in that area,” Mardini said.
The ICRC is “looking to repeat this operation in other flashpoint and besieged areas” in Syria, including the largely rebel-held area of Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus.
Mardini said his organisation’s budget for Syria this year has been their largest operation worldwide and it would be allocated the same budget next year.
Russia launched an air campaign in Syria on September 30. The West has criticised Moscow for focusing on moderate groups that oppose President Bashar al-Assad rather than on the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.
Israel quiet over ‘hotline’ with Russia on SyriaIsrael is unusually tight-lipped about the military coordination Middle East
Russia says to build military base on contested Kurile IslandsThe move is likely to worsen already frayed relations with Tokyo which lays claim to the Southern Kuriles World News
How Russia benefits from the West’s mistakesThe West has made numerous huge mistakes, starting with supporting jihadists against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, which have put the ... World
Civilian deaths from Russia air strikes are rising, activists claimHuman Rights Watch (HRW) has called for an investigation into the Sept. 30 strikes on Talbiseh as a potential violation of international law Features
U.S. slams Russia rolling out ‘red carpet’ for AssadAssad flew into Moscow for a meeting with Putin during which they discussed their joint military campaign Middle East
13 dead as Russia strike hits Syria field hospitalThe clinic was run by the Syrian-American Medical Society, whose staff confirmed that strikes had ‘severely damaged’ the facility Middle East
Russia has no information about reported Russian deaths in SyriaThe three Russians were allegedly killed Tuesday when a shell hit their position in Latakia, a senior pro-government source said Middle East
Russia, U.S. sign ‘memorandum’ on air safety over SyriaThe memorandum contains a number of rules and restrictions aimed at preventing incidents between American and Russian plans Middle East
U.S., Russia sign memo to avoid clashes in air over SyriaPentagon said U.S.-led coalition aircrafts bombing Islamic State in Syria were re-routed at least once to avoid a close encounter with Russian planes Middle East
Russia, Belarus to create joint defence mechanism within 2 yearsRussian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia and Belarus plan to create a joint military defence mechanism within two years World News
Putin says Russia stepping up fight on terrorism after Syria strikesPutin told high-ranking officers that terrorists in Syria have been building plans to increase expansion in other regions Middle East
Chechnya in the shadow of Russia’s Mideast strategiesAlthough Putin tries to keep Kadyrov on a leash, the Chechen leader is firmly cementing himself in to the Russian body politique Middle East
Russia says 49 targets hit in latest Syria strikesRussia claims to target ISIS and other “terrorist” groups, while the U.S. believes moderate anti-Assad rebels are thier main aim instead. News
Russia planes ‘safe’ after Turkey downs aircraftThe Turkish military said it had downed an ‘air vehicle’ of unknown origin which had violated its air space near Syria Middle East
Hollande: Russian intervention won’t save AssadFrance’s Hollande said after an EU summit that Russia’s military intervention in Syria will not save President Bashar al-Assad Middle East
Russia says it is still deploying drones in Syria to aid strikesThe latest Russian strikes used data from a drone to put two tanks and three ISIS infantry combat vehicles out of operation in Aleppo Middle East
Moscow protest against Russia role in SyriaThe demonstrators oppose Moscow’s decision to carry out air strikes which began targeting assorted Syrian rebel groups on September 30 World News
Obama, Abu Dhabi crown prince discuss SyriaBoth leaders agreed that Russia's military operations in Syria should focus on ISIS, not moderate Syrian opposition groups Middle East
Russia: planes hit 51 ISIS targets in SyriaRussian planes hit targets in Hama, Latakia, Damascus and Aleppo Middle East