US State Department spokesman John Kirby today accused Russian warplanes of hitting an unnamed Syrian hospital in an undisclosed part of Syria at some time during the past month of airstrikes. He offered no details, and cited “press reports” as leading him to this conclusion.
The “press reports” appear to center around a claim from the White Helmets, a group that is bankrolled in part by the State Department, that a Russian warplane hit a hospital near al-Qaeda-held Idlib. There were questions about the identity of the plane that launched the strike, however, with Russia insisting they are not using cluster munitions in Syria, as the plane in the video was shown doing.
The White Helmets have been seen playing somewhat fast and loose with evidence since Russia joined the war, though Doctors Without Borders (MSF) did say that 12 hospitals across Syria have been hit in recent weeks. They offered no indication who launched any of those strikes, however, and the Red Cross today said they were “unaware” of any specific incident proven to be a Russian strike.
The timing of the allegations, and the flat refusal of Kirby to offer the secret evidence he claims the US has to prove them, is noteworthy, coming amid ongoing US efforts at damage control over their own attack on a hospital in Afghanistan earlier this month, and their total silence on a recent Saudi attack on a hospital in Yemen.