Strikes on Syrian medical facilities appear deliberate: UN

This photo taken early on November 6, 2019 shows an aerial view of a hospital that was reportedly hit by an air strike in the Syrian village of Shinan, about 30 kilometres south of Idlib in the northwestern Idlib province. (AFP)
Updated 09 November 2019

Strikes on Syrian medical facilities appear deliberate: UN

  • Syria’s war has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and forced 13 million people from their homes, half of whom have left their wrecked country

IDLIB: More than 60 medical facilities have been hit in Syria’s Idlib province in the past six months, including four this week, and appear to have been deliberately targeted by government-affiliated forces, a UN rights spokesman said on Friday.
Idlib in Syria’s northwest, the target of a Russian-backed offensive launched this summer to capture it and surrounding areas, is part of the last major rebel bastion in Syria’s 8 1/2-year war.
Since April 29, 61 medical facilities have been hit there, including some that were struck several times, UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told journalists.
“We can’t determine if every single attack is deliberate but the large scale of these attacks ... strongly suggests that government-affiliated forces conducting these strikes are, at least partly, if not wholly, deliberately striking health facilities,” he said at a Geneva news briefing.
“They can’t possibly all be accidents,” he told Reuters later. He said that, if it is proven that any or some of these were deliberate, they would amount to war crimes.
Damage was reported at the Kafr Nobol hospital on Nov. 6 — which had also been hit in May and July — and two air strikes also directly hit the Al-Ikhlas hospital in southern Idlib, incapacitating it this week, Colville said.

BACKGROUND

Idlib in Syria’s northwest, the target of a Russian-backed offensive launched this summer to capture it and surrounding areas, is part of the last major rebel bastion in Syria’s 8 1/2-year war.

Syria’s war has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and forced 13 million people from their homes, half of whom have left their wrecked country.
Since a Turkish-led offensive across Syria’s northern border a month ago to push out Kurdish YPG fighters, at least 92 civilians have been killed in northern and northeastern Syria, Colville added.
That offensive displaced 200,000 people, of whom nearly half of them remain displaced are dispersed across camps and shelters, Najat Rochdi, Senior Humanitarian Adviser to the UN Special Envoy for Syria, said on Friday.
A UN-backed panel is meeting in Geneva this week, with delegates from the government, opposition and civil society, in what the United Nations says is an important step in the long road to political rapprochement in Syria.


Turkey’s Fatih drill ship starts operations off northeast Cyprus

Updated 50 min 51 sec ago

Turkey’s Fatih drill ship starts operations off northeast Cyprus

  • Turkey said it is operating on its own continental shelf or areas where Turkish Cypriots have rights
  • Yavuz is another Turkish drillship off the west coast of Cyprus

ANKARA: The Turkish oil-and-gas drilling ship Fatih has started its operations off the coast of northeastern Cyprus, Turkish vice president Fuat Oktay said on Friday, despite warnings from European Union for Ankara to stand down.
On Monday, the EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted a framework for restrictive measures against Turkey over its drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey, a formal candidate to join the EU despite worsening ties, criticized the decision and said it would not cease drilling because it is operating on its own continental shelf or areas where Turkish Cypriots have rights.
Another Turkish drillship, Yavuz, is off the west coast of Cyprus.