2 Russian paramedics killed, 1 gravely injured in militant attack on hospital in Aleppo – MoD
Two Russian medical specialists were killed and another injured when militants shelled a mobile military hospital in Aleppo, Russia’s Defense Ministry said, while calling on the international community and human rights organizations to condemn the attack.
One Russian medic was killed immediately at the Russian military mobile hospital set up in western Aleppo, and another died later in a hospital after succumbing to her injuries, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
The doctors are now fighting for the life of Russian pediatrician, who was also severely injured in the attack.
“Today, between 12:21 and 12:30pm [local time], a medical center of the Russian Defense Ministry’s mobile hospital in Aleppo was shelled by the militants during the reception time,” ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov told journalists.
Some local residents attending medical appointments were also injured during the shelling that targeted one of the field hospitals set up in the government held part of the city, the ministry added.
“We demand that the international community, as well as the International Federation of Red Cross, Red Crescent Societies, Doctors without Borders (MSF), and other international organizations strongly condemn this deliberate killing of Russian military medics that were fulfilling their duty of care by treating Aleppo residents,” Konashenkov said, adding that the crime would be investigated, and all those responsible would be brought to justice.
RT has requested comment on the shelling of the Russian hospital from the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the Red Cross, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, and Amnesty International.
In response to a request from RT, Amnesty International said it is trying to check whether it is “able to comment on this.”
“But usually if we have not documented and been able to verify details for ourselves it can be tricky for us to provide a comment on specific attacks,” the emailed response reads.
“Repeated attacks on healthcare and other civilian infrastructure throughout Aleppo” indicated that “all sides to the conflict in Syria are failing in their duties to respect and protect healthcare workers, patients and hospitals, and to distinguish between them and military objectives,” the Red Cross told RT in a comment following the shelling of the hospital.
“Healthcare infrastructure, medical personnel and the sick and wounded are protected under international humanitarian law (IHL). They must not be attacked,” the Red Cross stressed, adding that “when hospitals come under fire, countless numbers of people are deprived of life-saving healthcare.”
“The hospital was far from the frontline. Now it’s totally destroyed,” Vladimir Savchenko, the head of the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria told journalists earlier.
“The hospital was in open terrain and had clear identification markings – it was clearly seen,” Savchenko said, adding that the militants “still used this situation and carried out a massive strike against [the facility] … in defiance of the international regulations, of the humanitarian law that forbids the shelling of hospitals.”
After the shelling of the hospital, an RT crew with a producer from RT Arabic, Somar Abudiab, arrived at the scene. They were filming when the shelling resumed and Abudiab was injured by a shell fragment.
The Russian Defense Ministry attributes the blame for the hospital shelling to “terrorists and their patrons in the US, the UK and France.”
“It is beyond doubt that the shelling was conducted by the ‘opposition’ militants. Moscow understands who gave the Syrian militants the coordinates of the Russian hospital right at the moment when it started working,” Konashenkov said.
“Full responsibility for the killing and injuring of our medics, who were treating children in Aleppo, lies not only with the actual perpetrators [of this crime], that is with the ‘opposition’ militants. The blood of our military personnel is on the hands of the people who ordered the hit … [on the hands] of the terrorists’ patrons from the US, the UK, France and other terrorist sympathizers,” Konashenkov said.
RT’s Lizzie Phelan reports from Aleppo that the city is subject to non-stop shelling by the militants and the hospital that was targeted was overcrowded with injured civilians, including children.
Phelan said “nine mortar shells landed in the area” of the Russian hospital.
After the recent successful advances of the Syrian forces in Aleppo, the situation in the city has ultimately shifted in favor of the Syrian government, writer and editor Abdel Bari Atwan told RT.
“I believe that the armed opposition is now hitting everyone and is trying to kill … as many as they can on the Syrian and the Russian side, as their days are numbered in that part of Aleppo,” Atwan said.
He stated it is now impossible to separate the moderates from terrorists in Aleppo, as the armed groups fighting the Syrian Army in the city have joined together to form a unified force. These groups are rejecting appeals by the UN as well as Russia and Syria to leave Aleppo, and are prepared to fight till the end, Atwan added.
He also emphasized that the West is still supporting the militants in Aleppo, and is even encouraging them to carry out attacks similar to the shelling of the Russian hospital. By doing this, they are culpable for the casualties among Russian medics and Syrian civilians, Atwan added.
“The backers of these armed opposition [groups] bear the responsibility for these casualties. It also seems that the rebels received highly advanced weapons to carry out this kind of attack deliberately against a hospital,” he said.
The militants must have received “technical assistance” in targeting the Russian hospital, Said Sadik, a professor of political sociology from Cairo, told RT.
“I do not think the rebels have a satellite or a reconnaissance plane that can locate it [the hospital], so somebody has been providing them with this information,” he said.
Sadik also said that those who ordered and carried out the strike had the apparent goal of “pushing Russian public opinion towards forcing the government to end” its campaign in Syria.