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London uses unconfirmed info about Syria air strikes — Russian embassy

Earlier, UK diplomats accused Russia of attacking hospitals and other civilian facilities

LONDON, June 22. /TASS/. UK government’s accusations against Syria and Russia of striking civilian targets in Idlib are based on information from unreliable sources, the Russian Embassy in London has said in a statement.

"We demand that British representatives, as well as their Western colleagues, use only verified data in their assessments. We have long had serious questions as to their sources of information, which are not reliable. It is now obvious to many that, for example, in the entire pre-conflict Syria there were not that many hospitals as our Western partners claim to have been destroyed by the recent fighting," the embassy said on Friday.

The statement came in response to recent allegations by numerous UK diplomats, including those made by Karen Pierce, the United Kingdom's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at the UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria. During her speech, Pierce accused Russia of attacking hospitals and other civilian facilities. Russia strongly rejected those claims, stressing that Moscow was not engaged in any kind of attacks against the civilian population.

"Russia remains committed to the agreements we have achieved with Turkey to stabilise the situation in Idlib. The military of our two countries maintain constant contacts and coordinate their activities in order to prevent further escalation of violence and destabilisation. However, Moscow and Ankara will not turn a blind eye to dangerous provocations of terrorists that threaten the Turkish territory, the Russian air base at Khmeimim, the Syrian military and civilians," the statement says.

"We would like to emphasize: the Syrian armed forces and the Russian Air Force strike only at terrorists' facilities identified as such by intelligence data," it says. "There is no secret that terrorists use civil infrastructure, hospitals and schools for military purposes, and they use ordinary people as a ‘human shield’."

Tensions in Syria’s Idlib, the only de-escalation zone still outside the Syrian government’s control, flared up at the beginning of May. Starting from May 21 militants have carried out daily massive attacks against the positions of government forces. The worst hostilities occurred in the area of Kafr Nabud. Also, terrorists have been regularly attacking Russia’s Hmeymim air base. All of these attacks have been successfully repelled by air defense units.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Russia’s aerospace forces were dealing strikes exclusively against reconnaissance-confirmed targets.