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Wednesday, February 17, 2016, Falgun 5, 1422 BS, Jamadiul Awwal 6, 1437 Hijri

Russia rejects Syria war crimes claim over hospital attacks
Assad casts doubt at ?cessation of hostilities? plan
Published :Wednesday, 17 February, 2016,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 18
MOSCOW, Feb 16 : Russia says it "categorically rejects" accusations of war crimes over the bombing of hospitals in Syria.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "those who make such statements are not capable of backing them up with proof".
Up to 50 people were killed in missile attacks on at least four hospitals and two schools in rebel-held areas of northern Syria on Monday.
The UN said the "deliberate" targeting of such facilities "could amount to war crimes", according to Reuters.
Turkey's foreign ministry has blamed Russia for the attacks.  A Turkish official on Tuesday said it would back a ground operation in Syria but only "with our international allies. "There is not going to be a unilateral military operation from Turkey to Syria," the unnamed official told reporters in Istanbul.
The UN envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, met Syria's foreign minister on Tuesday to discuss one of the key priorities of the truce - "unhindered humanitarian access to all besieged areas". However, there was no word on when aid convoys might reach besieged areas.
Earlier, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cast doubt over the "cessation of hostilities" plan, saying it did not mean all the parties would put down their weapons. He said it would be "difficult" to implement.
"So far they say they want a ceasefire within a week," he said in his first comments of Friday's agreement. "Who is capable of gathering all these conditions and requirements within a week?" Almost five years of civil war in Syria have led to the deaths of more than 250,000 people. More than 11 million people have been displaced.
Meanwhile, the United Nations said nearly 50 civilians, including children, died in bombings of at least five medical facilities and two schools in northern Syria's Aleppo and Idlib provinces.     UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the raids violated international law and "cast a shadow" over efforts to end Syria's five-year civil war, while France said the attacks "constitute war crimes".      ?BBC, AFP

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