The following note from the Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo, Syria, was forwarded to me from Italian journalist Alessandra Nucci, a regular contributor to CWR, who translated it from Italian:
Dear Friends : Peace and Good to you all
I am writing from Aleppo where they have been bombing us civilians incessantly for the last few days, causing deaths, injuries and destruction. Just last night we had 4 dead and over 15 wounded in our neighborhood, besides the damage to the houses and apartments!
These bombs are launched by groups they call the “moderate opposition” so that they can be defended, protected and armed as such. But actually there is no difference between them and the other jihadi warriors, except for the name alone.
It would appear that they have been given the green light for an intensification of their bombing of civilians. Perhaps they aim to make the peace talks fail?! Or maybe they want to get some regional troops to step in and prevent the regular army from advancing and freeing the region from terrorism and from the jihadis?!
We would like to launch an appeal for a cease-fire, for a halt to the bombing, and to encourage the different sides to sit at the negotiating table, so that Syrians may solve their problems in a dialogue among themselves.
May the Lord grant us His peace.
Thank you and good bye.
+Georges-Abou-Khazen, Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo
Sunday Feb 14th 2016 5:50 pm
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday (ht: Jim Geraghty of National Review Online, via his “Morning Jolt” newsletter) that the bombings appears to have been carried out by Russian military:
All of this bombing of hospitals and schools is starting to make our government doubt Russia’s good intentions.
The U.S. said the airstrikes Monday in and around Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city, targeted innocent civilians, including at two hospitals. At least 50 people were killed at medical facilities and schools in rebel-held areas in Aleppo and Idlib provinces, the United Nations said.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said the bombing of civilian targets “casts doubt on Russia’s willingness and/or ability to help bring to a stop the continued brutality of the Assad regime against its own people.”
The Daily Mail has footage of the attack:
A shocking video shows an entire district destroyed by Russian cluster bombs in Aleppo as air strikes hit five hospitals and two schools.
The death toll after the attacks in Syria today has risen to 50 with many more expected to be wounded.
It is believed that among those dead are children and the bombings have been condemned by U.N. chiefs.
U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haqsaid said the attacks were ‘blatant violations of international laws’ that ‘are further degrading an already devastated health care system and preventing access to education in Syria.’
Meanwhile, despite such apparent evidence, the Chicago Tribune reports that the Russians deny involvement:
Russia on Tuesday denied its warplanes carried out strikes on a Syrian hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders that killed at least nine people, as Syrian government forces and a Kurdish-led coalition advanced amid heavy fighting in the country’s north.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had said Russian warplanes targeted the hospital in Idlib province on Monday. The makeshift clinic was supported by the international aid group, also known by its French acronym MSF. France said that such attacks “could constitute war crimes.”
But the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed the allegations, saying there was no proof.
“We categorically reject such claims, even more so because each time those who make such claims prove unable somehow to corroborate their unsubstantiated accusations,” Dmitry Peskov said. …
When pressed, he said Damascus had made announcements about who could have been behind the bombing. He said Syria’s ambassador to Russia said the hospital was destroyed by the U.S. military. A U.S.-led coalition is carrying out strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria.
The Tribune also reports that the five people killed included three children and a pregnant woman; a “third air raid hit a school in a nearby village, killing seven and wounding others.”
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