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EU’s Mogherini Condemns Attacks On Civilians By Syria, Russia In Idlib Province

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini

The European Union’s top diplomat has condemned recent attacks on civilians in Syria by government forces and their Russian allies, calling them "unacceptable."

"Recent attacks on a camp of internally displaced persons and the bombing of a critical life-saving health facility close to the Turkish border are yet another deplorable escalation in the deteriorating situation," a statement by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on November 22.

"Indiscriminate attacks on critical civilian infrastructure, including health and education facilities, by the Syrian regime and its allies are unacceptable and must stop immediately," the statement added.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 21 civilians, including 10 children, were killed on November 20 in a bombardment by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russia in Idlib Province.

"The EU recalls that all parties to the Syrian conflict are bound to respect and uphold international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Equally, they are obliged to ensure unhindered humanitarian access to all people in need," the EU added.

The United States on November 9 condemned air strikes by Russia-backed Syrian government forces that Washington says have targeted civilians in the northwestern corner of the country.

On November 8, United Nations human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva that more than 60 medical facilities had been hit in Idlib Province over the past six months.

He added that it appears the sites have been deliberately targeted by forces linked to the government.

Russia has denied it targets civilian areas and its forces are focused on assisting refugees looking to return to their homes.

Russia and Iran have provided crucial support to Assad’s government during the Arab nation’s civil war, which began with a violent government crackdown on protesters in March 2011 and has since killed more than 400,000 people and devastated much of the country’s infrastructure.

The United States and Turkey have backed differing rebel groups in the country, while extremist groups, including Al-Qaeda and Islamic State, have also jointed the fighting but have been driven out of most of the areas they previously held.

With reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters

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