Russia denies carrying out airstrikes in Syrian province of Idlib

Civilians and civil defense members look for survivors in the Syrian city of Idlib, Syria, late May 30, 2016. © Khalil Ashawi
The Russian Defense Ministry has rejected allegations that the Russian Air Force delivered airstrikes on Idlib city, Syria. Reuters earlier reported that Russian airstrikes targeted a number of sites in the city, including one next to a hospital.

According to Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov, the Russian Air Force has not conducted any sorties in the Idlib area.

“No combat missions, let alone delivering airstrikes, have been performed by the Russian Air Force in Idlib province,” Konashenkov said.

The information about Russia’s alleged airstrikes has been spread by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), an NGO run by an individual residing in the UK.

The SOHR reported that the alleged airstrike was “the heaviest bombardment there since a cessation of hostilities was agreed in February,” as cited by Reuters.

It was also reported that the airstrikes targeted several sites, including one next to a hospital, and that at least 23 people were killed, seven children among them.

In its turn, Turkey said the strikes killed more than 60 civilians and injured around 200, as cited by Reuters.

“We urge people to remain critical of any scare stories spread by the ‘British tandem’ of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Reuters news agency,” Konashenkov said.

The Defense Ministry spokesman also said that in previous cases when Russia had presented official data recorder information that disproved SOHR claims, neither Reuters nor the UK-based organization had published the refutations.