WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has “operational information” that leads U.S. officials to believe Russian military aircraft hit a hospital while carrying out bombing raids in Syria, the State Department said on Thursday.
Since the start of the Russian bombing campaign on Sept. 30, various reports from media and civilian groups have charged that Russian warplanes have hit hospitals with their air strikes.
The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres told Reuters on Thursday that air strikes in northern Syria had hit 12 hospitals, but it did not specify which country carried out the bombings.
The director of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross told Russian television RT he was unaware of any such incidents, the English-language news channel reported.
Asked at a briefing whether the United States had evidence that Russian bombing had hit Syrian hospitals, State Department spokesman John Kirby said, ”Yes, we’ve seen some information that would lead us to believe that Russian military aircraft did hit a hospital.
“We have seen some press reporting to that end, we have seen some Syrian civil society groups say that,” Kirby said.
“I would tell you that we have other operational information that leads us to believe that Russian targeting has not only not been focused on ISIL (Islamic State) but has, in fact, caused collateral damage and some civilian casualties, to include some civil infrastructure.”
Russia says it is targeting Islamic State militants with its bombing raids, but U.S. officials have said most of the attacks are directed at other militant groups that threaten the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Dan Grebler