Hospitals in northwestern Syria are being bombed with the culprits violating international law, a New York Times report found.
The Times investigated seven incidents where health facilities that were designated as off-limits were bombed, following a United Nations inquiry announced in August. Through their investigation, the Times attributed at least four of these attacks to the Syrian military, one to the Russian Air Force and at least one to rebel groups in the country.
The newspaper reviewed witness statements, forensic analysis, weapons identification, satellite imagery, cockpit recordings of Syrian and Russian pilots and flight logs to come to these conclusions.
International law forbids attacking buildings in northwestern Syria during wartime, but at least 60 health facilities in the area have been damaged in attacks since April. At least 29 of the attacked sites were on the off-limits list, and of those 29, the U.N. singled out seven for the scope of its probe.
The U.N. launched an investigation into the bombings in August, but a U.N. spokesman declined to tell the Times why the seven sites in particular were chosen.
Diplomats told the newspaper that Russia was pushing to keep the U.N.’s report summing up the findings of the investigation from being published. Farhan Haq, a U.N. spokesperson, told the Times that it was unclear whether the total report or parts of it would become public.
Advocates criticized the U.N.’s investigation as too restricted.
“We don't think that’s adequate,” Mufaddal Hamadeh, the president of the Syrian American Medical Society, told the Times. “Some sites really do not represent the true story.”
The newspaper noted the inquiry is still ongoing, and its focus could broaden in the future.