French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said either Russia or the Assad regime were responsible for an air strike on Syria’s Idlib province that led to the deaths of 26 civilians, most of them school children.
The raids hit a residential area and a school in Haas village, the Syrian Civil Defence rescue workers’ network said on its Facebook account.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Wednesday that the bombing was believed to be carried out by Russian planes and targeted the village of Hass, including the school complex.
“Who is responsible? In any case it is not the opposition because you need planes to launch bombs. It’s either the Syrians – the regime of (President Bashar) al-Assad – or the Russians,” Ayrault told a news conference.
“It’s yet another demonstration of the horror of this war, which is a war against the Syrian people, which we cannot accept.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was appalled by the attack, which – if deliberate – may amount to a war crime, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. Ban called for an immediate and impartial investigation of all attacks against civilians.
“If such horrific acts persist despite global outrage, it is largely because their authors, whether in corridors of power or in insurgent redoubts, do not fear justice. They must be proved wrong,” Dujarric told reporters.
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Russia denied its connection to the attacks, while it was clear that no air force, other than the Syrian and Russian, was holding operations in the area.
Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said: “It’s horrible, I hope we were not involved. It’s the easiest thing for me to say no, but I’m a responsible person, so I need to see what my Ministry of Defence is going to say.”
“The Russian Federation has nothing to do with this terrible tragedy, with this attack,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday, adding Moscow demanded an immediate investigation.
Zakharova said claims that Russian and Syrian warplanes had conducted the deadly airstrikes in Idlib on Wednesday were “a lie”. Idlib
French officials have been grappling for ways to put new pressure on Russia after Moscow vetoed a French-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria. Idlib
France has previously announced it will ask the international criminal court to investigate possible war crimes committed in Syria’s Aleppo after more than 600 civilians were killed in the Assad-Russian offensive on the besieged city.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has also canceled a visit to Paris after President Francois Hollande said he would see him only for talks on Syria.
The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.
— Mark (@markito0171) October 26, 2016