UN: Strikes targeting medical facilities in Syria appear deliberate

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — More than 60 medical facilities in the Syrian province of Idlib have been bombed over the past six months, four of them this week, a UN human rights spokesman said on Friday. The installations were apparently deliberately targeted by government forces, the spokesman said.

Idlib, in northwestern Syria, was the target of a Russian-backed attack last summer to retake it and neighboring areas. It is part of the last major area still controlled by opposition forces in Syria.

Spokesman Robert Colville told reporters that since April 29, 61 medical facilities had been bombed, some of them bombed several times.

“We cannot determine whether each individual attack was intentional but the large scale of these attacks … strongly indicates that government forces have deliberately targeted medical facilities with these strikes, at least in part if not entirely,” he told a news briefing in Geneva.

“Not all of them can be incidents,” he told Reuters later, adding that if any or some of those attacks were deliberate, they would amount to war crimes.

Colville said Kfar Nabil hospital was reported to have been damaged on November 6 and had also been bombed in May and July. Ikhlas hospital in southern Idlib was also hit by two airstrikes, which took him out of service this week.

Colville said that since a Turkish-led military incursion across the border with Syria a month ago aimed at expelling the YPG fighters, at least 92 civilians have been killed in the north and northeast of the country.

Najat Rushdi, the UN special envoy to Syria for humanitarian affairs, said on Friday the attack had displaced 200,000 people, about half of whom remained homeless and separated between camps and shelters.

A UN-backed Syrian commission meets this week with government, opposition and civil society delegates in what the United Nations says is an important step on a long road to political reconciliation in Syria.

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