US-led coalition behind Aleppo hospital attack
Syria has dismissed accusations that their warplanes had targeted a hospital in the northwestern city of Aleppo, with Moscow suggesting that the US-led coalition was instead responsible for the incident.
In a statement released on Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Moscow had conducted no airstrikes in Aleppo in recent days.
“According to our information, on the evening of April 27, for the first time after a long break, there was a plane over Aleppo that belonged to one” of the members of the US-led coalition purporting to fight Takfiri Daesh terrorists, the ministry statement read.
According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a wave of airstrikes hit the al-Quds hospital in a militant-held neighborhood of Sukkari in Aleppo early on Thursday. Nearly 30 people were killed.
The hospital was supported by international medical charity Doctors Without Borders, also known by its French acronym as the MSF. Three children and six hospital staff, including the city’s last pediatrician, were among the casualties.
Anas al-Abdeh, the head of the so-called Syrian National Coalition opposition group, had accused Russia of violating a cessation of hostilities, which went into effect late February, “especially in Idlib and Aleppo City.”
Syria rejects claims on hospital shelling
Meanwhile, Syria’s official news agency SANA quoted an unnamed Syrian military source on Thursday as saying that reports about the Syrian Air Force targeting the medical facility “is untrue and aimed at covering the terrorists’ crimes against civilians.”
The chief Syrian opposition negotiator Mohammed Alloush had blamed the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the deadly aerial assaults, saying the latest sure in violence shows “the environment is not conducive to any political action.”
The developments come as the latest round of UN-brokered indirect Syria peace talks, which began on April 13, were brought to a halt after the main foreign-backed opposition group, known as the High Negotiations Committee, walked out of the discussions to protest at what it called the Damascus government’s violation of the ceasefire in the Arab country.
Following the latest Aleppo fighting, Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations special envoy for Syria, said the truce across Syria, was “barely alive.”
Fighting continues in Aleppo
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned that the fighting raging in Aleppo had worsened the humanitarian plight of tens of thousands of residents in the city.
Meanwhile, Jan Egeland, the chairman of the UN-backed taskforce on humanitarian aid to Syria, raised concerns over the situation in Aleppo, adding that a lifeline for millions of Syrians risks being broken.
Egeland made the remarks after a weekly meeting of major and regional powers in the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) in Geneva, Switzerland.
“The catastrophic deterioration in Aleppo over the last 24-48 hours, also in parts of Homs area, was reported live to members of ISSG today … No one doubted the severity of the situation,” he said.
Nearly 50 civilians were reportedly killed in recent rocket attacks carried out by foreign-backed militants in Aleppo.