WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States strongly condemns air strikes by the Syrian government forces backed by Russia targeting hospitals and civilian infrastructure in northwestern Syria, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said on Friday.
“These attacks over the last 48 hours have hit a school, a maternity hospital, and homes, killing 12 and injuring nearly 40,” Ortagus said. “The latest reported incidents reflect a well-documented pattern of attacks against civilians and infrastructure by Russian and Syrian forces.”
Idlib in Syria’s northwest, the target of a Russian-backed offensive launched this summer to capture it and surrounding areas, is part of the last major rebel bastion in Syria’s 8-1/2-year war.
Syria’s war has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and forced 13 million people from their homes, half of whom have left their wrecked country.
On Friday, United Nations human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva that more than 60 medical facilities have been hit in Syria’s Idlib province in the past six months, including four this week, and appear to have been deliberately targeted by government-affiliated forces.
“We urge Russia and the Assad regime to resolve this conflict through the U.N.-facilitated political process and to stop waging war in civilian areas,” Ortagus said.
Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Chris Reese