The UN released a summary Monday of an inquiry into 2019 attacks and bombings on Syrian hospitals, schools and refugee camps, stopping short of blaming Russia.
Many of the attacks were targeted airstrikes on locations providing humanitarian aid to those affected by the Syria conflict. The report heavily implicated the government of Syria and its allies for the civilian attacks. Russia is one of Syria’s only allies with the military power to conduct these airstrikes. However, the report did not outright blame either group.
Regarding on of the bombings, the Secretary-General of the UN Headquarters Board of Inquiry remarked:
The Board found that it was highly probable that the strikes had been carried out by rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft. For lack of forensic evidence, the Board could not conclusively determine the nature of the weapons that had been used, but it was highly probable that an air-to-ground missile and a barrel bomb had been employed. In the light of the information available to it, the Board found that it was highly probable that the strikes had been carried out by the Government of Syria and/or its allies. However, the evidence at its disposal was not sufficient for the Board to each a conclusive finding on the attribution of the incident to any individual or entity.
A March UN report named Russian drones responsible for other 2019 Syria attacks. However, this new report declines to place blame on the country.
The report has sparked outrage among the international humanitarian community. Kenneth Roth, the director of Human Rights Watch, criticized the report: “UN Secretary General gave an excessively narrow mandate to a board of inquiry into attacks on hospitals in Syria, and the inquiry now produces a ‘mealy-mouthed’ report, all to avoid offending Russia, the prime offender along with Syria.”
The UN has yet to comment on the report or criticisms.