US Secretary of State John Kerry has accused the Syrian Arab Army of deliberately targeting hospitals, adding the five-year-old war is now “in many ways out of control.”
After meeting with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Geneva on Monday, Kerry said the conflict was “in many ways out of control and deeply disturbing to everybody in the world, I hope.”
“The attack on this hospital is unconscionable,” he said, adding that the government of President Bashar al-Assad deliberately attacked three clinics and a major hospital last week. “And it has to stop.”
Washington on Thursday expressed outrage over an airstrike on a hospital in the Syrian city of Aleppo, leveling accusations against Damascus and Moscow, which were flatly dismissed by both as unfounded.
Russia and Syria rejected allegations that their warplanes had targeted the hospital in the northwestern Syrian city, with Moscow suggesting that the US-led coalition was instead responsible for the incident.
Earlier on Monday, the Syrian army said a “regime of calm” around the capital Damascus has been extended for another 48 hours.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Sergei Kuralenko, head of the Russian Center for reconciliation of the opposing sides in Syria, said on Monday that talks were underway on declaring a “regime of calm” in Syria’s Aleppo province.
In recent months, the Syrian army, backed by the Russian air power, has been making major gains against Takfiri groups, recapturing several strategic areas from their grip, particularly in the strategic northern province of Aleppo.
Syria’s ongoing offensive against foreign-backed militants in Aleppo is based on a UN Security Council resolution which accepts Syria’s right to fighting terrorists.
A temporary truce agreement engineered by Russia and the United States, which came into force across Syria on February 27, has been holding despite reports of violations by the warring sides.
“What is happening in Aleppo is an outrage. It’s a violation of all humanitarian laws. It’s a crime,” said the Saudi foreign minister after he met Kerry in Geneva on Monday.
“It’s a violation of all the understandings that were reached,” he added, accusing Damascus and Moscow of violating international peace agreements.
Since March 2011, the United States and its regional allies, in particular Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, have been conducting a proxy war against Syria.
UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has furthermore displaced over half of Syria’s pre-war population of about 23 million.