Blame game: Syria claims US bombed hospital

The Syrian ambassador to Moscow on Monday accused the US of destroying a hospital backed by the humanitarian group MSF, amid US and observer accusations saying that Russian air strikes had targeted medical facilities in the war-torn country.

Riad Haddad, Syria's envoy to its ally Russia, told the state TV channel Rossiya 24 that the hospital in Idlib had been hit earlier in a US raid.

"American warplanes destroyed it. Russian warplanes had nothing to do with any of it – the information that has been gathered will completely back that up," Haddad said.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor reported earlier that "a building that housed a hospital supported by MSF was destroyed on Monday by aircraft, presumably Russian."

The UN for its part said that air strikes on at least five medical facilities and two schools in northern Syria's Aleppo and Idlib provinces, northwest Syria, killed nearly 50 civilians including children.

MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres – Doctors without Borders), which like the UN did not attribute blame, confirmed a hospital supported by the charity was hit in Idlib, and said seven people were killed and at least eight were missing, presumed dead.

The US State Department, meanwhile, condemned air strikes that hit two civilian hospitals "in and around Aleppo," identifying them as one run by MSF, the Women's and Children's Hospital in the city of Aziz.

The statement did not mention Idlib specifically.

It said such action "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."

Haddad said US accusations "are a sign of the war of propaganda, which began in the very first days of the conflict in Syria."

Russia began its air campaign in Syria last September. As early as last October, Syrian doctors revealed that Russia had already struck no fewer than nine medical facilities, including hospitals and field clinics.

AFP contributed to this report.


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