Hospitals and schools are being bombed in Syria. A UN consultation is limited. We take a deeper look.

0
298

The bombs crashed into a child care center, a refugee camp and a school. They destroyed improvised clinics and hospitals, disabling essential services for tens of thousands of people.

Over the past year, attacks on buildings in northwestern Syria, which are supposed to be off limits during the war under international law, became so frequent that the head of the United Nations launched an investigation to document the violations.

The establishment of Secretary General António Guterres of the investigation is seen by many diplomats as a success in the United Nations largely hindered by the division in the powerful Security Council. Russia, an ally of the Syrian government and one of the main perpetrators of these attacks, has issued 14 vetoes in the Security Council since the beginning of the war in Syria, blocking responsibility efforts and hampering humanitarian aid deliveries to Syria.

Since April, at least 60 health centers in northwestern Syria have suffered damage from strikes, and at least 29 of them were off the list of limits. But the United Nations, at least so far, observes only seven incidents. A spokesman for the United Nations did not say how the investigation sites were determined.

Human rights and medical groups that support hospitals in Syria have criticized the investigation as insufficient, saying it does not match the severity of the violations. The investigation, for example, is analyzing only one attack that Russia has probably carried out, despite previous research conducted by The New York Times that found that Russia bombed hospitals at least five times in May and November.




Seven incidents on the United Nations list investigated by The Times.Landsat and Copernicus satellite image, through Google Earth

The diplomats also told The Times that Russia had pressured Secretary General Guterres to keep the results of the investigation secret. A United Nations spokesman, Farhan Haq, said the UN was still considering whether the report, or part of it, would be made public. In addition, Mr. Haq said the investigation should be an investigative mission, not a criminal investigation to determine responsibility.

The Times obtained the list of attacks under review by four officials informed about the investigation, and investigated those incidents in an attempt to determine guilt. Our reports suggest that the Syrian army was probably responsible for at least four of the attacks, the Russian Air Force for one and the rebel groups for one or two.

To rebuild the individual attacks, The Times relied on witness statements, forensic analysis of photos and videos, identification of weapons, satellite images and recordings of the cockpit of Syrian and Russian pilots during the bombing missions.

We correlate this information with thousands of flight records recorded by Syrian ground observers, who listen to radio transmissions, track the flight paths of fighter jets and identify aircraft with the naked eye and sound.

Several of the attacks occurred in late April and early May, when the Syrian government and its Russian allies began a major offensive to retake the last parts of Syria controlled by the insurgents, in Hama and Idlib, provinces in the northwest of the country.

Satellite image of Maxar Technologies, through Google Earth

one)

Ariha child protection center

Date July 27 and 28, 2019

Suspect Syrian Air Force

The children's center was taken out of service during a weekend of air strikes probably carried out by the Syrian Air Force.

The center provided health and recreation services for the children of Ariha, the second largest city of Idlib.

"It was a safe space for children to return to their childhood and get away from weapons and what they see on the streets," said Baraa al-Smoudi, executive director of Ihsan Relief and Development, an organization that supported the center.

In September 2018, the center's coordinates were entered in the list of United Nations facilities intended to be outside the limits. But less than a year later, air strikes on consecutive days damaged the center without the possibility of repair and killed more than a dozen civilians, including several children, who were nearby.

Where

The center was located between apartments in a busy high-rise residential area in the center of Ariha. Several apartment buildings also suffered serious damage in the air strikes.

When

Witnesses began reporting air strikes at 11:22 a.m. Saturday, July 27.

Strikes hit two apartment blocks just 50 yards from the entrance of the Child Protection Center. The force of the explosion blew into the center's doors and windows, al-Smoudi said.

The videos verified by The Times show the horrible consequences of that July 27 attack.

The airstrikes destroyed apartment buildings just 50 meters from the children's center on July 27.Ariha Today, Hadi Alabdallah, @ shamalmjd1, through Twitter, Maxar Technologies, through TerraServer.

The fighter planes returned almost exactly 24 hours later, at 11:18 a.m. the 28th of July. This time, the pilots bombed the street in front of the center and an adjacent building.

The center was relocated after air strikes hit it and adjacent buildings on July 28.

Who

Our timeline of evidence and an analysis of the damage suggest that the attacks were probably carried out by the Syrian Air Force.

TO 11:14 a.m.Minutes before the airstrikes, flight observers search a MiG-23 fighter plane, which only Syrians fly around, surrounding Ariha.


Location

Province

type of aircraft

aircraft category

Vault

local time

Jabal Akrad

Lattakia

Mi-8 (hip)

Helicopter

Circling

11:12:05 a.m.

Jabal Al-Zawye

Idlib

Another fixed wing

Fixed wing

northwest

11:12:13 a.m.

Mha.m.bal

Idlib

Another fixed wing

Fixed wing

Circling

11:13:04 a.m.

Ariha

Idlib

MiG-23 (Flogger)

Fixed wing

Circling

11:14:30 a.m.

Ha.m. Military Air Base

Ha.m. to

Yak 130 (mitten)

Fixed wing

north

11:15:15 a.m.

Jabal Akrad

Lattakia

Mi-8 (hip)

Helicopter

Circling

11:15:58 a.m.

Approximate time for the strike of the Ariha apartment block: 11:22 a.m.

Tal Tuqan

Idlib

Buzz

Buzz

Circling

11:25:36 a.m.

Jabal Al-Zawye

Idlib

Buzz

Buzz

Circling

11:31:04 a.m.

Zmar

Aleppo

Russian

Fixed wing

Southeast

11:34:05 a.m.


Air strikes occur near 11:22 a.m. A witness who describes himself as a citizen journalist publishes a video informing continuous bombing from Ariha after that.

And in 11:29 a.m., the cockpit recordings capture a Syrian pilot, whose code name is Baz 4, confirming that he has finished his operation, a phrase we have heard that Syrian pilots use countless times to confirm that a bombing is completed.

July 27 audio of Syrian pilots

">

11:29:09 a.m.

Pilot

"Wehad, Baz 4 finished."

No other air attacks were reported in Idlib at the time of Ariha's attacks, and Russian pilots are not carrying out attacks at this time, according to the audio files obtained by The Times. This suggests that the Syrian pilot was probably responsible for the attack.

On July 28, flight observers re-registered a MiG-21 fighter jet, another model that only flies the Syrian Air Force, circling around Ariha and four miles away at Jabal Al-Zawye in 11:15 a.m.


Location

Province

type of aircraft

aircraft category

Vault

local time

Khan al-Sobol

Idlib

Another fixed wing

Fixed wing

northwest

11:13:59 a.m.

Jabal Akrad

Lattakia

Su-24 (fencer)

Fixed wing

Circling

11:14:31 a.m.

Kafr Zeita

Hama

Another fixed wing

Fixed wing

Circling

11:14:45 a.m.

Ariha

Idlib

MiG-21 (fish bed)

Fixed wing

Circling

11:15:27 a.m.

Jabal Al-Zawye

Idlib

MiG-21 (fish bed)

Fixed wing

South

11:15:46 a.m.

Jabal Akrad

Lattakia

Su-24 (fencer)

Fixed wing

Circling

11:15:59 a.m.

Approximate time of the Ariha street strike: 11:18 a.m.

Jisr al-Shughour

Idlib

Su-24 (fencer)

Fixed wing

Circling

11:18:02 a.m.

Hama military air base

Hama

MiG-23 (Flogger)

Fixed wing

north

11:18:16 a.m.

Jabal Akrad

Lattakia

Su-24 (fencer)

Fixed wing

Circling

11:18:49 a.m.


Air strikes are first reported only a few minutes later in 11:18 a.m. on a local Facebook page, Ariha Today.

The Times has spoken with experts in the Russian and Syrian air forces, former Soviet and Syrian pilots and conflict analysts. The pattern of air strikes on both days, when weapons are thrown and hit several places at once, is typical of Syrian attacks. An incident report from the Airwars conflict monitoring group also listed the Air Force as suspects.

The children were between at least 11 people killed and 25 people injured on July 27, according to Ariha Today. At least four people died in the July 28 attacks.

Satellite image of Maxar Technologies, through Google Earth

two)

Kafr Nabl Surgical Hospital

Date July 4, 2019

Suspect Syrian Air Force

The surgical hospital was disabled by air strikes, most likely by the Syrian Air Force.

Kafr Nabl Surgical was a well-known hospital that served about 14,000 patients per month, according to Physicians for Human Rights, a nonprofit advocacy group that investigated attacks on medical care.

Repeated attacks on the hospital during the entire Syrian conflict forced administrators to take him underground. After the attacks left him unusable in early 2019, he was restored in March with the support of the World Health Organization and the Japanese government.

Authorities say the UN is investigating only the July 4 incident, but other attacks on the hospital in 2019, including Russian attacks in May and November, have caused further damage, including death and injuries to patients and workers.

Where

The Kafr Nabl Surgical Hospital is located in the province of Idlib, controlled by the opposition. On the day of the attack, the front lines were more than 15 miles south of the city.

Since 2016, the hospital has been managed by the UK-based charity Hand in Hand for Aid and Development, which suspended services after the July 4 attack.

When

The hospital was attacked at 2:52 p.m. and 3:40 p.m. local time on July 4, according to the British charity.

Local activists said the city of Kafr Nabl suffered its biggest bombardment that day since late April, when the Syrian army and its allies launched a campaign to recover northwest Syria.

Who

Flight records, cockpit tapes and visual evidence provided to The Times link air attacks to the Syrian Air Force.

Kafr Nabl Surgical was attacked for the first time around 2:52 p.m. with three barrel bombs that shook the hospital in rapid succession, according to the British charity. Barrel bombs are raw unguided bombs dropped from a helicopter. They have been widely used by the Air Force.

Around that time, flight observers searched a Mi-8 helicopter circling over Kafr Nabl in 2:43 p.m., 2:47 p.m. Y 2:57 p.m.


Location

Province

type of aircraft

aircraft category

Vault

local time

Ma & # 39; ret Hurma

Idlib

Yak 130 (mitten)

Fixed wing

Circling

2:39:35 p.m.

Ma & # 39; ret Hurma

Idlib

Mi-8 (hip)

Helicopter

Circling

2:40:14 p.m.

Ma & # 39; ret Hurma

Idlib

Mi-8 (hip)

Helicopter

north

2:40:25 p.m.

Kafranbel

Idlib

Mi-8 (hip)

Helicopter

Circling

2:43:33 p.m.

Kafranbel

Idlib

Mi-8 (hip)

Helicopter

Circling

2:43:40 p.m.

Khan Sheikhun

Idlib

Yak 130 (mitten)

Fixed wing

Circling

2:44:09 p.m.

Jabal Al-Zawye

Idlib

Mi-8 (hip)

Helicopter

north

2:44:56 p.m.

Ma & # 39; rrat al-Nu & # 39; man

Idlib

Yak 130 (mitten)

Fixed wing

northwest

2:45:39 p.m.

Kafranbel

Idlib

Mi-8 (hip)

Helicopter

Circling

2:47:12 p.m.

Ma & # 39; rrat al-Nu & # 39; man

Idlib

Yak 130 (mitten)

Fixed wing

West

2:48:33 p.m.

Kafranbel

Idlib

Yak 130 (mitten)

Fixed wing

Circling

2:49:07 p.m.

Kafranbel

Idlib

Yak 130 (mitten)

Fixed wing

South

2:50:25 p.m.

Ma & # 39; rrat al-Nu & # 39; man

Idlib

Yak 130 (mitten)

Fixed wing

northwest

2:51:05 p.m.

Kafranbel

Idlib

Mi-8 (hip)

Helicopter

Circling

2:51:19 p.m.

Approximate time of the first air attack (helicopters): 2:52 p.m.

Kafranbel

Idlib

Mi-8 (hip)

Helicopter

South

2:57:46 p.m.

Kafranbel

Idlib

Yak 130 (mitten)

Fixed wing

Circling

2:57:56 p.m.

Kafranbel

Idlib

Yak 130 (mitten)

Fixed wing

Circling

3:03:02 p.m.

Kafranbel

Idlib

Buzz

Buzz

Circling

3:10:53 p.m.


Yaser Kaddour, the hospital administrator, filmed that he was shaken by one of the barrel bombs. He said it was the third explosion.

Hand in hand for help and development

Audio recordings capture a Syrian pilot confirming an attack at this time. TO 2:51 p.m. Seconds before the barrel bomb exploded, a crew member is reportedly heard saying "I ran one,quot;

Recording in the cockpit of a Syrian pilot

">

2:51:34 p.m.

Pilot

"I ran one."

Mr. Kaddour was lucky to survive. He went to the hospital entrance to document the attack and filmed the remains of an apparent barrel bomb. In the video, suddenly a plane is heard overhead. Then another air attack.

Hand in hand for help and development

The moment of this next strike, at 3:40 p.m.According to the British charity, it is corroborated by local media reports only two minutes after "renewed raids,quot; in Kafr Nabl by MiG-23 fighter jets. These planes are flown only by the Syrian Air Force.




"Renewed raids of MiG-23 fighter jets with four vacuum rockets at the same time in the city of #Kafranbel,quot;.kafranbelnews, via Telegram

The flight observations of the aircraft observers show that a MiG-23 was seen circling over Kafr Nabl in 3:39 p.m. Y 3:41 p.m. – one minute before and after the attack.


Location

Province

type of aircraft

aircraft category

Vault

local time

Ma & # 39; rrat al-Nu & # 39; man

Idlib

MiG-23 (Flogger)

Fixed wing

northwest

3:37:12 p.m.

Ma & # 39; rrat al-Nu & # 39; man

Idlib

MiG-23 (Flogger)

Fixed wing

northwest

3:38:02 p.m.

Ma & # 39; rrat al-Nu & # 39; man

Idlib

MiG-23 (Flogger)

Fixed wing

West

3:38:21 p.m.

Kafranbel

Idlib

MiG-23 (Flogger)

Fixed wing

Circling

3:39:27 p.m.

Approximate time of the second air attack (air-surface): 3:40 p.m.

Kafranbel

Idlib

MiG-23 (Flogger)

Fixed wing

South

3:41:15 p.m.

Hama military air base

Hama

Mi-8 (hip)

Helicopter

north

3:41:21 p.m.

T4 West Airbase

Homs

Su-22 (Adjuster)

Fixed wing

northwest

3:47:46 p.m.

Shayrat Air Base

Homs

Su-22 (Adjuster)

Fixed wing

north

3:49:14 p.m.


After the July 4 attacks, the charity Hand in Hand expressed concern that the United Nations system for sharing the coordinates of protected facilities with belligerent parties did not prevent attacks and had become "inept." Four months later, Kafr Nabl Surgical Hospital was bombed again, this time by a Russian pilot, he found a Times investigation.

Satellite image of Maxar Technologies, through Google Earth

3)

Martyr Akram Ali Ibrahim Al-Ahmad School

Date April 28, 2019

Suspect Russian air force

The Russian Air Force was bombing the city, and most likely carried out the attack.

The high school was located in the city of Qalaat al-Madiq. A maternity and children's hospital built within the school complex served around 8,000 people each month, said Ibrahim Shamali, the media officer at the Hama Health Directorate.

Staff members evacuated most of the hospital on April 26, when Russian and Syrian forces began an offensive to wrest control of the city from armed opposition groups.

On April 28, Russian airstrikes in Qalaat al-Madiq forced them to leave the hospital and school. Attacks on the city killed five civilians and wounded seven, according to the Hama Media Office.

Eleven days later, Syrian government forces seized the city.

Where

Qalaat al-Madiq sat on the front line in Hama province, dividing the armed opposition groups of President Bashar al-Assad's army for more than a year before government forces took over the city on May 9. He had been targeted by attacks by the Russian and Syrian government against numerous occasions, and there were multiple reports of bombings and air strikes during April and early May.

Both the hospital and the high school were located at the north end of the city, next to two primary schools. An education office run by the opposition was located across the street.




Satellite image of Maxar Technologies, through TerraServer

When

The air raid at the school and the hospital complex occurred sometime between 1:00 a.m. and 1:30 a.m., according to Mr. Shamali and the international charity that supported the hospital. The Syrian Human Rights Network said the first projectile landed in or near the education offices and the second in the street between them.

A video filmed by a witness around 7:30 a.m., and verified by The Times, showed serious damage to both the education offices and the hospital.

This clip from a video filmed inside Hospital 111 shows significant damage to the installation. He was abandoned after the April 28 attack.

The photos provided by the network also confirmed significant damage to both.




The local education office, located about 130 feet north of the school and hospital, also suffered serious damage from the April 28 airstrike. Syrian Human Rights Network

At 12:07 a.m., local media began reporting Russian air strikes in the city. For the next 19 minutes, Wisam al-Hamwi, a reporter, would tweet about three attacks, in 12:07 a.m., 12:15 a.m. Y 12:26 a.m.




"Russian fighter jets launch an air strike in the city of Qalaat al-Madiq in the western camp of Hama."@wseemalkade, via Twitter

TO 1:11 a.m., a local news agency reported a fourth Russian air attack, and in 1:31 a.m., an Amman member of a network of Syrian activists tweeted about a fifth air strike.




"Urgent: Russian occupation fighter planes attack Qalaat al-Madiq with a fourth raid with highly explosive missiles and are still circling."Gaftleknews, via Telegram




"Hama Field
Russian fighter planes attack Qalaat al-Madiq
Five air strikes in the city so far
God protect them "
@yaseenalbakhi, via Twitter

Who

Witnesses reported five airstrikes in the two hours after midnight. Flight records and audio recordings made it clear that a Russian pilot was bombing Qalaat al-Madiq at that time. Experts on the capabilities of Russian and Syrian air forces have also told the Times that only Russian airplanes usually carry out night attacks.

Syrian ground observers registered Russian fighter planes over Qalaat al-Madiq in 12:09 a.m., 12:14 a.m. Y 12:33 a.m., coinciding with the times when Mr. Al-Hamwi reported the first three attacks.


Location

Province

type of aircraft

aircraft category

Vault

local time

Ma & # 39; ret Hurma

Idlib

Buzz

Buzz

Circling

11:45:36 p.m.

Jabal Shahshabo

Idlib

Buzz

Buzz

Circling

11:54:36 p.m.

Jabal Shahshabo

Idlib

Russian

Fixed wing

Northeast

12:06:23 a.m.

Strikes begin in Qalaat al-Madiq: 12:07 a.m.

Madiq Castle

Hama

Russian

Fixed wing

Circling

12:09:42 a.m.

Madiq Castle

Hama

Russian

Fixed wing

Circling

12:14:51 a.m.

Hmemim Air Base

Lattakia

Russian

Fixed wing

Southeast

12:22:56 a.m.

Madiq Castle

Hama

Russian

Fixed wing

Circling

12:33:09 a.m.

Jabal Shahshabo

Idlib

Russian

Fixed wing

East

12:36:26 a.m.

Tah

Idlib

Buzz

Buzz

Circling

12:36:54 a.m.

Zmar

Aleppo

Ilyushin 76

Fixed wing

South west

12:38:34 a.m.


The reports of the fourth and fifth air strikes, the most likely to be attacks against the school and hospital complex, also coincided with the observations of Russian fighter jets on Qalaat al-Madiq in 1:11 a.m. Y 1:24 a.m.


Location

Province

type of aircraft

aircraft category

Vault

local time

Zmar

Aleppo

Ilyushin 76

Fixed wing

South west

12:38:34 a.m.

Tal Tuqan

Idlib

Russian

Fixed wing

Circling

1:08:48 a.m.

Zmar

Aleppo

Russian

Fixed wing

northwest

1:08:51 a.m.

Possible first attack at Hospital 111 and the school area: 1:11 a.m.

Zmar

Aleppo

Russian

Fixed wing

Circling

1:11:30 a.m.

Madiq Castle

Hama

Russian

Fixed wing

Circling

1:11:57 a.m.

Zmar

Aleppo

Russian

Fixed wing

Circling

1:15:34 a.m.

Tal Tuqan

Idlib

Russian

Fixed wing

north

1:17:52 a.m.

Zmar

Aleppo

Russian

Fixed wing

Circling

1:23:13 a.m.

Madiq Castle

Hama

Russian

Fixed wing

Circling

1:24:03 a.m.

Tal Tuqan

Idlib

Russian

Fixed wing

South west

1:27:15 a.m.

Jarjnaz

Idlib

Russian

Fixed wing

South west

1:28:03 a.m.

Jabal Shahshabo

Idlib

Buzz

Buzz

Circling

1:28:22 a.m.

Jabal Shahshabo

Idlib

Russian

Fixed wing

South west

1:28:38 a.m.

Ma & # 39; rrat al-Nu & # 39; man

Idlib

Russian

Fixed wing

South west

1:28:39 a.m.

Possible second strike at Hospital 111 and the school area: 1:31 a.m.

Kafranbel

Idlib

Russian

Fixed wing

Southeast

1:33:12 a.m.

Ma & # 39; rrat al-Nu & # 39; man

Idlib

Russian

Fixed wing

Northeast

1:34:14 a.m.

Ma & # 39; ret Hurma

Idlib

Russian

Fixed wing

West

1:38:49 a.m.


The recordings of the cabin indicate the Russian responsibility for the strikes. We know Russian pilot 44 I was active on Qalaat al-Madiq at that time because I had received latitude and longitude coordinates that point to this location in the city.

Russian pilot 44 receives coordinates

">

12:21:10 a.m.

Control

"944 one more coordinate setting,quot;.

Pilot 44

"I'm seeing a big difference in minutes."

12:21:46 a.m.

Control

"35 25 18.46 … (36) 23 23.79 Level 211."

TO 11:54 p.m., Pilot 44 tells his dispatcher that "it will start raining,quot; soon. It seems unlikely that this was a reference to the weather, which was dry.

Pilot 44 prepares the attack

">

11:54:47 p.m.

Pilot

"It will start raining, five minutes."