International condemnation of bombings that targeted hospitals including facilities supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and UNICEF in northern Syria yesterday continued. MSF said that 7 civilians including 5 patients, a care provider and a guard were killed in an air raid that targeted a hospital supported by the organisation and that led to its destruction. At least 14 civilians were killed in another area when rockets targeted a children’s hospital, a school and other locations in the Syrian city of Azaz which is controlled by armed opposition near the Turkish border. Many Syrian sources have suggested that the bombing was carried out either by Russian troops or Syrian regime forces.
This came as the Syrian Democratic Forces which are formed of Kurdish Syrians and their allies transformed into what resembles a “partition force” between the Syrian regime and the opposition near the Turkish border which will support the regime and facilitate its operation towards the city of Aleppo.
In a related development, official Russian statements regarding the ground operation that a number of Arab countries and Turkey are determined to carry out in Syria to combat ISIS appeared to be contradictory yesterday. While Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that any ground operations in Syria would lead to “a comprehensive and long war”, the Chairman of the Security and Defence Committee of the Russian Federation Council Viktor Ozerov said that Russian troops had no intention of entering into a confrontation on Syrian territory with Turkish troops or the troops of any other country because Turkish troops are not directing strikes at Russian forces in Syria.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Council of Ministers led by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz said that it values the appreciation expressed by the defence ministers of the international coalition for the important steps taken by Saudi Arabia to establish an Islamic military alliance to fight terrorism and stressed that the Islamic alliance “would be supportive of international efforts to fight ISIS first and then other terrorist groups”.