Syrian government solely behind Aleppo hospital strike – US

Introduction — April 29, 2016

Syrian civil defence members carry wounded man to a hospital in the government controlled side of Aleppo. Click to enlarge

Syrian civil defence members carry wounded man to a hospital in the government controlled side of Aleppo. Click to enlarge

In the past 24 hours numerous reports have appeared of attacks on civilians in Aleppo. The source of claims that Syrian government air strikes were responsible appears to be the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Run by a lone Syrian expatriate, who by his own admission hasn’t been back to his homeland in nearly twenty years, the Observatory has long been suspected of being a disinformation outlet.
It regularly releases uncorroborated ‘news’ bulletins that portray the Syrian government and the actions of their Russian allies in a negative light. This appears to be happening with events unfolding in Aleppo.
In the past few days we have received other reports of attacks on residential areas in Aleppo. One came from Stephen Lendman while the first came from a reporter in Gaza who relayed eyewitness accounts from Aleppo. In both cases the perpetrators of the attacks were named as “Western-backed militants”.
This is in distinct contrast to reports based on information originating from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which claims Syrian government aircraft were behind the attacks.
So residential areas in Aleppo are being attacked with civilians killed and wounded. Independent observers cite “Western-backed militants” as being responsible, while a suspected disinformation outlet based in England blames Syrian government air strikes.
And who does the U.S. government decide to believe?
For its part the U.S. State Department claims that the strikes in Aleppo were conducted “solely by the regime”. This ignores the independent observer’s accounts and gives Washington’s official seal of approval to reports coming from a suspected disinformation outlet, the SOHR. Ed.

Syrian government solely behind Aleppo hospital strike – US — April 29, 2016

State Department spokesman John Kirby said Washington was still learning more about the attack on Wednesday night that killed children and doctors at the hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders.

“The indications that we have now are that these strikes were conducted solely by the regime,” Kirby said. He denied statements by the Russian Defense Ministry that a plane belonging to the U.S.-led coalition was seen over Aleppo on Wednesday evening.

Russia’s backing for Syrian government forces has helped swing the war in favor of Assad, although Russia previously denied hitting civilian targets in Syria where it launched air raids late last year to bolster its ally.

Asked whether the strikes on the hospital were conducted with the backing of Russian forces, Kirby added: “Not from any measure that we can tell at this point.”

But he said Moscow still wielded influence over Assad.

“We’re not at the point where we’d say they don’t have influence over Assad,” Kirby said, adding: “What’s curious and what we’d like to know more is to what degree are they actually assertively, aggressively using that influence right now because on the face of it … it would appear that influence isn’t being asserted as energetically as we believe it could be.”

The city of Aleppo has been at the epicenter of a military escalation undermining peace talks in Geneva to end the five-year-old war. U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura appealed to the presidents of the United States and Russia to intervene.

Kirby said the Syrian cessation of hostilities was “very much in peril” because of the violations and urged Moscow to use its influence over Assad to halt the attacks.