UN panel: 'highly likely' Assad bombs hospitals
A report by a special UN Headquarters Board of Inquiry ordered by the Secretary-General finds that it is "highly probable" that the Bashar Assad regime and allied forces have bombed hospitals and other civilian targets in Syria. The report, turned in April 6, cited air-strikes last year on a hospital, a clinic, and a childcare facility in opposition-held areas of Idlib and Hama provinces. All three were on a "deconfliction list" of protected sites that the UN had provided to Damascus. The Board of Inquiry also found it "plausible" the regime targeted another healthcare center. Yet the report failed to specifically mention Russia, which has also been engaged in the air-strikes, referring only to "the Government of Syria and/or its allies." The Assad regime has claimed that the targeted sites were being used by "terrorists."
It was also determined to be "probable" that opposition forces were behind a May 2019 mortar attack on the Palestinian refugee camp at Nayrab in Aleppo province. The camp was apparently being used as a base by Iranian forces, but five of the 10 killed in the attack were children. This attack was found to have been carried out by "armed opposition groups or by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham." HTS is the former Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, and not a part of the general rebel alliance. (BBC News, NYT, ReliefWeb)
A separate UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria report last month did find substantial evidence that Russian warplanes were directly involved in "war crimes," including the bombing of civilian areas.