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MOSCOW, October 27. /TASS/. Russian Defense Ministry has asked the NATO member countries and Saudi Arabia to prove the allegations about Russia’s airstrikes on hospitals in Syria recently spread by English-language media outlets, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said on Tuesday.
"We have invited today the military attaches of the United States, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, NATO bloc and requested them to provide a formal justification of the essence of these statements or make a rebuttal, especially concerning the outrageous accusations in a number of English-language media about alleged airstrikes on hospitals," Antonov said after a meeting with military attaches.
According to him, a number of Western countries’ media have recently intensified information attacks against the Russian Aerospace Forces operation in Syria. "We have been accused of delivering airstrikes not only on the "moderate" opposition, but also on civilian targets such as hospitals, as well as mosques and schools. Civilians have been allegedly killed as a result, the Western media report."
"Unfortunately, some officials and political figures of a number of foreign countries have made similar statements," the Russian deputy defense minister said. Suffice it to recall the statements by US Secretary of State Kerry, US Secretary of Defense Carter, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, UK Secretary for Defence Fallon, the French defence minister and many others, Antonov added.
The Russian Defense Ministry has been closely monitoring and analysing such statements, he said.
On Monday, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov 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. 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 organisation 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 Defence Ministry official said. He added 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.