UNITED NATIONS, January 29. /TASS/. Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia has put in question the reliability of the data on civilian casualties in Syria’s Idlib supplied by the UN Secretariat, since the source providing the data remains unknown.
Earlier, UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock in his address to the UN Security Council accused "the Government of Syria and its allies" of delivering airstrikes against Idlib, which allegedly killed civilians. The allegations received the US and UK ambassadors’ support. Lowcock walked on the UN SC session.
"Mark Lowcock seems to have lacked time to heed both us and the Syrian representative. It is a pity as we are convinced that it would have been useful to listen to us," Nebenzia said.
Nebenzia said that at the session, there were "statements, which look as if they had been copied, about the bombardments of schools, hospitals, marketplaces and sites accommodating internally displaced persons."
"We were given ‘precise’ numbers of those killed and injured. We used to hear it word for word," the Russian ambassador went on to say.
"I want to ask you once more: Where do you collect your ‘reliable’ data? Where have you found so many medical institutions that had already been bombed-out?" he asked his counterparts at the UN Security Council.
"Terrorists are still employing the practice of ‘human shields’, abducting civilians and shelling checkpoints," Nebenzia stressed.
The ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation zone in the north of Syria came into effect on January 12. Government troops stopped combat operation from 14:00 local time on January 9. Nevertheless, according to the Russian center for the reconciliation of the conflicting sides in Syria, since the ceasefire was declared, militants have numerously attacked the Syrian army’s positions and opened fire on inhabited localities. On January 19, the center informed that the number of attacks had reached the maximum level since May 2019 when the region was gripped with full-scale fighting. In the January 28 offensive, the Syrian army regained control over the town of Maaret al-Numan, where a major outpost of the Al-Nusra Front (terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) was located.
The Russian center for reconciliation of conflicting sides in Syria (incorporated in the Russian Defense Ministry) said in a statement on Wednesday that no civilians were affected by the attack launched by Syrian government forces against militants’ position in the Idlib de-escalation zone. The Russian military pointed out that work had begun in the town of Maaret al-Numan retaken from militants to provide the civilian population with foodstuffs and daily necessities.
Four de-escalation zones were established in Syria under an agreement reached by the three Syrian ceasefire guarantor nations, namely Russia, Iran and Turkey, in May 2017. Three of them are now controlled by Damascus while the fourth one located in the Idlib governorate and partially in the neighboring Latakia, Hama and Aleppo governorates is still outside Damascus’ control, with a larger part of it being seized by Jabhat al-Nusra (a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) militants.