Russia: Foreign Ministry tackles the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, challenged the veracity of the reports of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which is based in London, during a press conference in Moscow on Thursday. Zakharova accused the reports as exhibiting bias against Russia's airstrikes on targets within Syria. The spokesperson was speaking in reference to speculation of Russian bombing of a "field hospital" in the Idlib Governorate in north-western Syria and as a result "killing 13 civilians." "As we all understand, it is very 'convenient' to cover and observe what is happening in Syria without leaving London and without the possibility to collect information in the field," she said. Zakharova stressed that Russian participation in the Syrian conflict is aimed "primarily" at "preserving state institutions" and "protecting civilians," including "ethno-confessional minorities." Moreover, the spokesperson commented that information that "terrorist groups" continue to receive "reinforcements of people" and "equipment from abroad." "This is a very dangerous tendency," she said, adding that "these facts raise a question whether parties involved in Syrian conflict are interested in a peaceful settlement of the Syrian conflict and how this goal is correlated to financial and technical support of anti-government armed groups including those who directly cooperate with terrorists." Zakharova went on to say that it will be "complicated" to struggle against 'terrorist groups' without preventing "external assistance" as well as "illegal" trade of Syrian hydrocarbons. The spokesperson said that the "most effective" way for the international community to combat terrorism within the framework of "active and partner international cooperation based on international law without any double standards."