After months of reports of how the Syrian and Russian militaries have supposedly destroyed the hospitals of eastern Aleppo, the Iranian news agency Fars is reporting – drawing on reports from the Arabic language Al-Hadath news agency.
The Syrian troops who have recently captured 40% of the Al-Qaeda controlled districts of eastern Aleppo have discovered there what seems to be a large, intact and fully equipped hospital.
“According to al-Hadath news website, the army forces discovered ECHO, MRI and other medical equipment and systems as well as a large stockpile of US-manufactured medicine and advanced labs all made by the US inside the hospital. On the top of the main door of the hospital that covers an area of 1,000sq/m is written: “A gift by Bani Saud (al-Saud)”.”
An information war is underway in Syria, and it is of course possible that this report is simply a part of it and that the hospital the Syrian army claims to have discovered is simply a Syrian propaganda invention. However it is presumably possible to refute this report if it is untrue, which however no-one so far has done.
I will here set out my own view, which is that though certain hospitals were indeed bombed in eastern Aleppo, this was either done unintentionally, or was the result of the Al-Qaeda led Jihadis deliberately positioning hospitals and medical facilities close to their ammunition depots, firing positions, and assembly areas, putting them intentionally in the line of fire, so as to cause attacks on them, which could be exploited for their propaganda value.
Meanwhile the hospitals and medical facilities used by the Jihadi fighters themselves to treat their wounded – of which I suspect this hospital which has just been discovered was one – were kept well away from the fighting, in places where they would not be attacked.
I would add that a hospital that is intentionally positioned on or near a military facility loses its right of protection under international war crimes law, especially if it is not marked clearly with a red cross or a red crescent.
I admit that as of now this only speculation. However it is well-informed speculation based on close observation of the reports of the actual fighting. Now that eastern Aleppo is being liberated from Al-Qaeda it is possible for independent reporters to there and to find out what actually happened.
It will be interesting to see which of them, and how many of them, decide to go.