‘Opposition backers bear responsibility for militants’ attack on Russian hospital in Aleppo’
Syrian opposition supporters bear responsibility for the casualties from the shelling of a Russian mobile military hospital, said writer Abdel Bari Atwan. It seems the rebels have been given advanced weapons particularly for such attacks, he added.
Extremists have shelled a Russian military hospital in Aleppo, killing two paramedics and injuring several service personnel. An RT Arabic producer was also wounded in the leg in the attack.
The attack on the Russian military hospital comes as the Russian Foreign Minister disclosed some of the details of the terms for the withdrawal of militants from eastern Aleppo proposed by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
RT: What do you think of the attack's timing, as it came after Russia and the US agreed on the terms of withdrawal for the militants in eastern Aleppo amid huge gains by the Syrian army in the city?
Abdel Bari Atwan: I believe the Aleppo battle is nearing its end. The Syrian army is controlling more than 60 percent of the eastern quarters of Aleppo. Now the negotiation is on its way between Russia and the US to evacuate the armed men - whatever they are, Islamist or moderate, to declare the end of the war in that part of Syria. The situation is moving towards the entrance of the Syrian government and their allies, Russian allies in particular. So it is a matter of time. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole of Aleppo surrenders before the end of this year…
RT: Russia's Defense Ministry said it knows where the so-called 'opposition' got the coordinates of the hospital.
“Without any doubt, the shelling was carried out by militants from the opposition. We understand where they got the exact coordinates of a specific Russian hospital from, the moment it started working. This means the responsibility for the deaths and injuries of our paramedics who were helping the children of Aleppo lies not only with the militants. The blood of our service personnel is also on the hands of those who created, fostered and armed these animals, calling them 'opposition' to justify this to their conscience and voters,” said Igor Konashenkov, Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson.
Do you think it's fair that both the militants and their backers are blamed?
ABA: …A week ago there were huge cries from the West, the US, all the Arab countries who are supporting the armed opposition about hospitals in Aleppo, or eastern Aleppo in particular, [being] bombed by Russian and by Syrians warplanes. Despite the denial, they still continue to blame the Russian and the Syrian warplanes. Now we can see that a Russian hospital that is taking care of injured people in that part of the world is bombed.
I do agree that definitely, the backers of this armed opposition bears the responsibility for these kinds of casualties…Also, it seems that the rebels received highly advanced weapons in order to carry out this kind of attack deliberately against the hospital, which is a new chapter of escalation…. The armed opposition is like a wounded tiger now, they are hitting everywhere, and they are trying to kill as many as they can, or destroy as much as they can from the Syrian side and the Russian side. It is obvious, but I believe their days are numbered in that part of Aleppo.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.