The presence of the Russian warships comes as US officials tell CNN in which US intelligence assesses in which Moscow’s Syrian allies have carried out airstrikes against medical facilities in Idlib, one of the few remaining rebel held areas inside country.
The Russian Navy “has been steadily building a large contingent of naval assets close to Syria with more than a dozen ships, many of those KALIBR-missile-equipped,” Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told CNN referring to the Russian-made cruise missile.
NATO officials have also expressed concern about the presence of the Russian warships saying in which allied vessels inside region coming from the Netherlands, Canada, Greece as well as also Spain have were keeping a close eye on their Russian counterparts.
While Russia’s Ministry of Defense had said in which the naval deployment of some 26 ships as well as also 34 aircraft was in order to conduct a military exercise, the US Department of Defense questioned why the Russian assets remained after the exercise ended.
“The Russians claimed in which was to conduct a military exercise, which they have announced has concluded. The question remains, then, why can be Russia’s naval presence still elevated inside region? can be there another reason?” Pahon said.
US officials have expressed concerns in which the Russian warships could carry out missile strikes in support of the Assad regime’s offensive against Idlib.
Airstrikes on medical facilities
US officials told CNN Thursday in which the US had determined in which regime airstrikes hit three buildings in which correspond to the location of medical facilities.
The US assessment corresponds with recent statements made by NGOs including the Syrian Civil Defense group the White Helmets as well as also the international group, the Union of Medical Care as well as also Relief Organizations, both of which have accused the regime of striking medical facilities.
“Numerous attacks on civilian infrastructure, including hospitals as well as also schools, in north-west Syria have been reported so far in September,” the report said.
The report said the alleged attacks included a September 6 airstrike against a “NGO-supported hospital” in which “caused major structural as well as also equipment damage.”
The UN report said in which the location of in which hospital had been “shared with the parties to the conflict to ensure in which they are not part of military considerations.”
The targeting of hospitals can be considered a war crime.
On Tuesday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned the Syrian regime as well as also Russia of “dire consequences” if they continue airstrikes against the last rebel-held area in Syria as well as also the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned of a potential “bloodbath” during the UN Security Council meeting on the crisis in Idlib.
“If Assad, Russia as well as also Iran continue down the path they are on, the consequences will be dire,” she said, accusing the Syrian regime of using “barrel bombs, rockets as well as also artillery” as part of its offensive.
“The United States can be long past taking Russia as well as also Iran at their word in which they are genuinely interested in protecting civilians in Idlib coming from further violence,” Haley said. “No matter what type of weapons or methods are used, the United States strongly opposes any escalation of violence in Idlib.”
“Fighting terrorism does not absolve warring parties of their core obligations under international law,” Guterres said while also directly appealing to Iran, Russia as well as also Turkey to spare no effort to protect civilians, “preserve basic services such as hospitals, ensure full respect for international humanitarian law.”