Friday, July 01, 2016


Tracking Islamic State

Russian Raids Said To Deliberately Target Rebel Field Hospitals In Syria

Syrian boys run past a destroyed field hospital in the rebel-held area of Douma, on the outskirts of Damascus, on October 29.
Syrian boys run past a destroyed field hospital in the rebel-held area of Douma, on the outskirts of Damascus, on October 29.
By Joanna Paraszczuk

Russian air strikes in Syria have deliberately targeted field hospitals in strategic opposition-controlled areas of Syria, killing and injuring staffers, disrupting their work and in some cases disabling hospitals altogether, opposition sources in Syria claim.

The head of the opposition-controlled Free Health Directorate of Aleppo, Yasser Darwish, told RFE/RL's correspondent in Syria this week that since the Russian air campaign started on September 30, Russian warplanes had carried out over 40 raids on field hospitals in the southern Aleppo countryside, as well as in Hama and Idlib provinces.

The raids have damaged field hospitals in the southern countryside of Aleppo, including in Al-Eis, Al-Hadher, Khan Tuman, and Al-Zirba, Darwish said.

Civilian casualties were reported in Al-Zirba and Al-Hadher in Russian raids on October 15. 

Other doctors, including Dr. Muhammad Tennari, the director of Sarmin hospital in Idlib Province, where at least 12 people were killed in an air raid last week, have also claimed that Russia is deliberately targeting medical facilities. 

The United States has stopped short of saying Russia is deliberately targeting hospitals. However, the State Department said on October 29 that Washington has information that recent Russian bombing raids have "caused collateral damage" including killing civilians and hitting a hospital.

Meanwhile, pro-Kremlin media have tried to discredit the allegations. 

Strategic (Non-IS) Targets

The Russian raids are not targeting Islamic State (IS) areas and are having no impact on IS, Darwish said. Instead, the Russian raids appear intended to help the Syrian government advance against rebel groups.

The southern Aleppo towns where the rebel-controlled field hospitals are located are of strategic significance. Russian strikes there facilitate the Syrian Army's advance into these areas -- as well as ensuring that rebel medical facilities there are damaged.

Al-Eis, where one of the targeted field hospitals is located, is a strategically important town "located on the supply route between Hama and Aleppo [and which] overlooks the Aleppo-Damascus road," according to Colonel Hassan Hamadeh from Brigade 101, a U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army group that is part of the southern Aleppo Fatah Halab operations room. 

'No IS In Latamneh'

The field hospital hit by Russian air strikes in the town of Latamneh in Syria's northern province of Hama also has strategic significance.

It is no coincidence that Latamneh was the site of Russia's first air strikes on September 30. The village is located close to the fighting between armed rebels (including the Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate, the Al-Nusra Front) and Western-backed groups -- and pro-government forces.

As the Institute for the Study of War noted in a recent report, the Russian-backed regime's multiple offensives will tie up rebels on multiple fronts and prevent them from reinforcing positions across northwestern Syria.

As in southern Aleppo, the Russian raids are also degrading rebel and opposition-held infrastructure, including field hospitals.

The head of one of Latamneh's field hospitals, Mahmoud El-Muhammad, told RFE/RL last week that the Russian raids on his hospital had injured a number of staffers as well as causing material damage.

The pro-opposition Shaam News Network and other opposition sources reported that air strikes had hit a second field hospital in Latamneh on October 23, wounding three medics and putting the facility out of action. 

One of the injured medics died on October 28, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights. 

As with the raids in southern Aleppo, there is no IS presence in Latamneh.

Latamneh "is the northern defense line of Hama city," says Thomas Pierret, an expert on Islam in Syria at the University of Edinburgh. "There is not a single IS guy in Latamneh."

Benefiting IS?

Russian strikes have not only failed to target IS, but in southern Aleppo the extremist group is benefitting from them, making a 10-kilometer advance in northeastern Aleppo on October 9, its largest in the province since August. 

Meanwhile, the Russian raids have hit civilian areas as well as opposition targets, according to Abi Bashir Ma'ara of the Noureddine Al-Zinki faction, a "moderate" group close to Saudi Arabia.

An estimated 70,000 Syrians fled their homes in southern Aleppo following the raids and assaults by pro-government troops.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dee pee
October 30, 2015 16:25
Actually there's no official confirmation that any hospital have been bombed at all. In fact this is the first article I've seen with any bodies name in it claiming such nonsense. Saudi Arabia dropped a bomb on a hospital in Yemen this week. And US dropped one on a hospital in Afghanistan last month. But no hospitals in syria. Sorry.
In Response

by: Sam
October 31, 2015 02:59
MSF who informed the world about the USA bombing 1 hospital in Afghanistan, says Russian has bombed 12 hospitals in Syria.

Go see their October 29th 2015 press release.
In Response

by: bohdana from: canada
October 31, 2015 16:19
There is also no official confirmation of Russian Soldiers in Ukraine although we know thousands have died, a Russian soldier also died in Syria where there is, of course, no confirmation of any Russian boots on the ground. Time for Russia to take responsibility for its abhorrent behaviour and start "confirming" atrocities that are public knowledge.
In Response

by: Julean
November 01, 2015 06:27
I suppose that any russian speaking person who dons a uniform is a russian soldier, regardless of whether he is a islamic jihadist underneath.

Russia plays chess well, and their intel regarding the islamomarxism in their southern areas is something that is a product of many centuries of interaction with them.

The only problem in the Ukraine is the marxist islamic criminal government who have been openly waging war on russian speaking citizens of Ukraine, screaming that russia is invading, and even shooting down a muslim plane and hoping this would trigger WW3.

Crimea never experienced much destruction, if any, because of Russian protection. The only people complaining are the pharisees and the muslims, because they hate Russia, and want the West and Russia to destroy each other.

by: Dee pee
October 30, 2015 16:32
Did you know you're source a Dr Tenari is Beeing investigated for war crimes?
In Response

by: Vee Dee from: here
October 31, 2015 14:56
That's no problem since their source is Dr. TenNari. (You want to comment while you cannot even cite correctly?). But citing isn't your favorite discipline anyway, you give no time, no location and no reference who is blaming him. MSF DOES GIVE precise data of these 12 bombings, go check yourself. Then it is no surprise that he's being investigated for war crimes, telling the truth during war times IS a crime for warmongers! You must be one of those trolls, your'e a joke!
In Response

by: Julean
November 01, 2015 06:32
Yes, we are unlike the trolls that pretend to be antiwar in the name of humanitarian goals, whilst supporting the very people who are the root cause of the wars, worldwide. We support the destruction of the psychopaths like islamic jihadists to stop the ongoing genocide and mass displacement, and shattering of millions upon millions of innocent lives, by using greater force against them.

But you go now, and cry for the jihadists that were killed in those so called "field clinics".

by: Julean
October 30, 2015 22:54
Very good news. Zero tolerance policy works best against this type of psychopathic enemy, since we know from experience by now that it is hospitals and schools that these islamic jihadists best like to hide and launch their attacks on innocent people.

I like Russia's style, not mercy, get the job done quickly. Not like the West that want to take 30 years. However, this problem is uniquely a muslim problem, and I am shocked to see the pathetic response to the genocide occurring in their own countries, and their unwarrior like conduct, rather cowardly.

The 57 OIC countries represented in the UN do nothing but continue to assist islamofascism to expand. And the UN rewards them by making the country from which all this inhumanity against humanity arose from, Saudi Arabia, the head of their Human Rights Commission. What a sick and bizarre joke.

Thank you Russia for not falling prey to the deceptions of islamism and their collaborators.
In Response

by: CJ
October 31, 2015 07:22
The problem of course is that "islamofascists", as you put it, generally aren't the type to man hospitals; not if they can just blow them up. Remember the Moscow theatre incident? We didn't bomb City Clinical at the time because it would have been completely and utterly pointless. Worse still it would have been counter-productive, especially with Russian "rescue" tactics, but just in general you want the people to be on your side else crazies will look like comparatively sane.

When between a Russian imperialist, a Yankee imperialist, and a caliphate imperialist, if there's no other option then people will pick the one which is less likely to get inconvenience them. That's how groups like the Taliban can wage war for decades and defeat the USA.

Russia might think that just because it ground Grozny into dust that the same tactics will work in Syria, but Syria is surrounded by countries which under normal circumstances would happily watch Syria die. But not to fascists like Russian forces.
In Response

by: Julean
November 01, 2015 06:17
We are constantly told that the muslim countries are in support of destroying ISIS and all these unislamic muslim criminal groups who have misinterpreted islam. Yet, you seem to be saying that they do not, simply because they won't accept Russia destroying ISIS and muslim crime co.? I believe that both Syria and Iraq have invited Russia, but it is in the main Turkey that has a problem with Russia. Iran is making hay in the fog of war. Saudi Arabias frankenstein monsters, isis, feels good about Russia because it sees Russian intervention as a war against the USA and West, and believes its goal for muslims to ally with Russia is progressing well.

And then you also seem to think that the Taliban are the only fascists you least inconvenience the people, and therefore prefer the Taliban? Are you sure? I think most afghan people don't want the taliban warlords, emulating their false prophet, around, because they mostly extort, murder and kidnap the populace. But to you it appears that this it is preferable to live indefinitely under this kind of fascist imperialistic oppression, than have a foreign army enter, liberate them, and then leave, whilst pouring in billions of dollars to help their government fight the muslim criminal groups.

But then I might have misunderstood your polemic.

by: amonymouse from: home
October 31, 2015 00:06
oh look, the Kremlin trolls are here. yay!
In Response

by: CJ
October 31, 2015 07:10
They're always here, always watching, just waiting to pounce and denounce everyone who isn't a stalinazi as an enemy of the state.
In Response

by: Julean
November 01, 2015 06:21
You people who are anti-russian, just because your brain has frozen into a stalinmarxist frame, think you are so clever when you denounce anyone who sees past the junk and promotes the advancement of the annihilation of those people who are committing genocide and mass displacement of innocent civilians. It just shows that you have no idea that Nazi is a product of Islamism. You don't even know that Stalin was a marxist, how on earth would you know what my agenda is.

by: Jack from: US
October 31, 2015 02:08
what, RFERL is shedding tears again for jihadists killed by evil Russians in "field hospitals"? Is anyone surprised this CIA propaganda outlet is crying foul any time jihadists are killed?
In Response

by: Vee Dee from: here
October 31, 2015 15:08
Firstly you need to show that these 12 locations were held by IS during the according time. Secondly you have to prove that MSF is lying in 12 cases. Thirdly you have to accept that even IS fighters in a hospital are protected by the Geneva convention. And at last, because won't, you are a troll.
In Response

by: Julean
November 01, 2015 06:07
We don't need to show anything to make the point. The factual evidence is a broadly known and documented fact. These hospitals are were jihadists seek refuge and often run their operations from, just like they do in gaza. Counting on their enemies not to bomb the "field clinics". It is what we like to call, common sense, in islamic terms???

by: Vee Dee from: here
November 01, 2015 14:56
Reply to Julean
--------------------

"We don't need to show anything to make the point. The factual evidence is a broadly known and documented fact."

(Congratulations, excellent TROLL statement)

"... It just shows that you have no idea that Nazi is a product of Islamism."

(You definitely need to study history a little bit more...)

"The only problem in the Ukraine is the marxist islamic criminal government"

(i would have to laugh now if it wasn't so sad...)

You are wasting your time to write a ton of statements all over the place here containing no facts, no evidence, no substance basing on nothing. This RFERL report is based on facts but you have none to counter them. But (or exactly because of this) you still you need to pollute this place and every comment. Poor you.
OVER AND OUT.

About This Blog

"Under The Black Flag" provides news, opinion, and analysis about the impact of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria, Iraq, and beyond. It focuses not only on the fight against terrorist groups in the Middle East, but also on the implications for the region and the world. The blog's primary author, James Miller, closely covered the first three years of the Arab Spring, with a focus on Syria, and is now the managing editor of The Interpreter, where he covers Russia's foreign and domestic policy and the Kremlin's wars in Syria and Ukraine. Follow him on Twitter: @Millermena

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