Moscow demands US-led coalition in Syria 'prove or deny' allegations Russia is 'bombing civilians'
The Russian Ministry of Defense has summoned military attaches of NATO countries and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, asking the officials to clarify their countries' allegations that Russian airstrikes in Syria have hit civilian targets.
"Today we invited military attaches from the US, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the NATO bloc to ask them to give official validation to their statements, or make a rebuttal," Defense Ministry deputy head Anatoly Antonov said on Tuesday.
It particularly touches upon Western media's "outrageous accusations" that the Russian Air Force has allegedly bombed hospitals in Syria, the military official said.
Information attacks on Moscow's anti-terror efforts in the region have intensified recently, Antonov said, adding that the Russian military is "blamed not only for conducting airstrikes on the 'moderate opposition,' but also on civilian buildings, such as hospitals, mosques and schools."
The MoD official stressed that such blame is put upon Russia not only by the media, but also officials and politicians from a number of Western states, including US Secretary of State John Kerry, US Department of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, the UK's Defense Secretary Michael Fallon and France's Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian.
Allegations will be dismissed as baseless should Russia not receive proof in the next following days, Antonov said, adding that the Defense Ministry "closely monitors and analyzes such statements."
The MoD deputy head once again called on foreign military officials to join efforts in fighting Islamic State, saying that a wider international coalition should be immediately formed to defeat terrorists in the region.
"We are still waiting... for cooperation in defining concrete targets to be bombed in order to annihilate ISIS bases, or [providing] coordinates of facilities that should not be targeted by the Russian Air Force," Antonov said.
Reports of a field hospital in northwestern Syria destroyed by Russian airstrikes, killing civilians, emerged last week, based on information provided by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Russian Foreign Ministry has disputed the media reports, having questioned the credentials of the source, which is based in Britain, has no direct access to the ground in Syria, and is run by one man.