Médecins Sans Frontières Silent on Turkish Strikes in Syria

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF, or Doctors Without Borders) aid agency is not commenting on Russia’s calls to pay attention to attacks on the Syrian border from Turkey and makes statements on military attacks only in case of direct impact on health structures, their staff and patients, an MSF spokesperson told Sputnik on Thursday.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) | Alexander Mosesov — On Wednesday, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov urged international human rights watchdogs, including MSF, to heed the attacks on Syrian border settlements launched from the Turkish territory, which he described as “criminal.”

“It is it be emphasized that the Russian-American agreements are not acceptable for everyone. In particular, in the north of Syria where large-caliber artillery continues shelling of the Syrian bordering settlements from the territory of Turkey.

Attention is to be paid to the fact that the selective blindness of international human rights organizations concerning this fact arouses deep concerns, to say the least.

Instead of unsubstantiated accusations of the Russian party of indiscriminate strikes, the Amnesty International, the Human Rights Watch, the Doctors Without Borders and other organizations would rather give their official view on the criminal actions of the Turkish Armed Forces.”

Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov
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“MSF is a medical humanitarian organization, providing care to people that need it, regardless of where they come from, their political affiliation or religion. We speak out when military attacks have a direct impact on our patients, staff or health structures,” the spokesperson said.

On February 13, Turkish artillery began shelling positions held by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish group with links to the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), in Syria’s Aleppo province.
Tanks stationed at a Turkish army position near the Oncupinar crossing gate close to the town of Kilis, south central Turkey, fire towards the Syria border, on February 16, 2016

According to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the shelling was a retaliatory measure within the rules of engagement.

On Monday, US State Department’s Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner reiterated Washington’s call on Turkey to stop shelling Kurdish positions in Syria in light of the US-Russian plan for the cessation of hostilities in the country.