MSF Didn’t Give Syrians GPS Data on Struck Clinic

Claims They Feared Location Data Would Be Used to Target It

Details of an airstrike against a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) clinic in the town of Maarat al-Numaan, which killed at least 25 civilians, are becoming more difficult today, as MSF revealed they’d never actually told either the Syrian or Russian government where the clinic was before the strike.

MSF had accused the Monday strike of “deliberately” targeting the facility, and leaving a large chunk of northern Idlib Province without access to medical care. While this all is true, it’s unclear if officials had any idea what the facility they were targeting was.

MSF officials say that they were afraid giving the Syrians GPS coordinates for the site, standard practice the world over, would leave it more open to targeting, and are arguing that as civilian infrastructure it shouldn’t have been targeted either way.

Whether or not the Syrian military knew the site was a hospital, however, the lack of communication gives them an easy out simply by insisting they didn’t know, as again the standard procedure is to always report hospital locations to nations carrying out airstrikes, and that they simply assumed it wasn’t a hospital, since they had no communication to the contrary.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.