MOSCOW, October 26. /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry has dismissed as "stove-piping reports" the allegations of a number of foreign media that Syrian civilians have been killed as a result of Russian airstrikes on a hospital in the country, ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Monday.
The official said that a number of English-language media reported on Sunday with reference to some "doctors" of the Syrian American Medical Society that Syrian civilians were killed as a result of a Russian airstrike on a "hospital" in the Sarmin settlement on October 20.
"We have been closely monitoring and analysing such hoaxes. First of all it is necessary to clarify information about the Syrian American Medical Society itself. This organization, registered in the American state of Illinois, has the same relation to medicine and doctors as the IS [Islamic State terrorist organization] to the international Scouting movement," Konashenkov said.
He said that since the moment of its establishment in 2012, this organization has been used above all for making public the "evidence" of the alleged use of chemical weapons against the Syrian opposition.
"However, when it was found out that all this "evidence" was false, this agency quietly holed up. The true task of the agencies that spread such information "is to make anonymous stove-piping reports to be later picked up by the designated media outlets," he said.
"Mark you, the same scheme is used by other agencies of the kind that were accusing us of bombing civilians a week ahead of the beginning of the Russian aviation group’s flights in the Syrian skies," the Defense Ministry official said.
He once again said that "before destroying a terrorist facility, we check the related information for more than one day and through multiple channels." "Only when we are 100% sure of the target, our aircraft are sent to deliver strikes on IS infrastructure using the corresponding precision-guided munitions," Konashenkov said.
Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes at facilities of the Islamic State terrorist organization in Syria on September 30. The air group comprises over 50 aircraft and helicopters, including Sukhoi Su-24M, Su-25SM and state-of-the-art Su-34 aircraft. Hundreds of terrorist facilities have been hit by Russian aircraft. On October 7, four missile ships of the Russian Navy’s Caspian Flotilla fired 26 Kalibr cruise missiles (NATO codename Sizzler) at militants’ facilities in Syria. On October 8, the Syrian army mounted a large-scale offensive. Russia does not plan to take part in ground combat operations in Syria.
Since October 10, Russia’s aircraft in Syria continued to hit terrorists’ targets conducting from 33 to 88 sorties per day. Russian air strikes were performed in the provinces of Raqqa, Hama, Damascus, Aleppo, Latakia, Idlib, Homs, Deir ez-Zor. Since the start of the operation, Russian air raids have destroyed more than 380 IS sites. The last days have shown that IS militants have serious air defence assets. On October 15, Russian warplanes destroyed the air defence system "Osa" at the village of Eastern Guta around Damascus. In northern Syria, the pro-government forces consist of 60,000-strong grouping officially strengthened by Russian military equipment and weapons.
More than 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives in four-and-a-half years of armed conflict, which began with anti-government protests before escalating into a full-scale civil war. More than 11 million others have been forced from their homes as forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and those opposed to his rule battle each other — as well as jihadist militants from Islamic State.