Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today condemned attacks by Russia and the Assad regime on civilian healthcare facilities in Syria, during a debate in the House of Commons.
Speaking in the House, Mr. Carmichael said:
“I welcome what the Minister said about the recent attacks on hospitals. He will be aware that there have been at least 578 such attacks on healthcare facilities, resulting in 890 deaths of medical personnel in the course of this conflict.
“Will the government treat that as a war crime at the highest level and will they in particular refute the suggestion from the Assad regime that all healthcare facilities in Idlib are somehow rendered inoperative and therefore are not civilian objects in terms of humanitarian law?”
Responding for the Government, the Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly MP, said:
“The international community have a longstanding position with regard to the targeting of civilians and civilian facilities and we condemn in strongest terms both the Assad regime and the Russians’ targeting of civilian establishments.
“We also make it clear that whilst there are concerns about potential terrorists and foreign national fighters within the Idlib region, this gives no cause at all for the Russians or the regime in Damascus to suggest that the targeting of these civilian facilities is appropriate. It is not, we condemn it and we continue to do so.”
Reacting afterwards, Mr. Carmichael said:
"Make no mistake. Syrian and Russian targeting of health care facilities in the name of "counterterrorism" constitutes a war crime. While I appreciate the Minister's condemnation of these attacks, these persistent violations of international law demand a far more engaged response by the Government.”