Russian Air Force Bombing Syrian Hospitals

Photo of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on October 21, 2015 talking about military operations in Syria. He thanked the Russia Federation for their involvement in the Syrian Civil War and has acclaimed Russia as a fighter against terrorism.

Пресс-служба Президента России [CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)]

Photo of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on October 21, 2015 talking about military operations in Syria. He thanked the Russia Federation for their involvement in the Syrian Civil War and has acclaimed Russia as a fighter against terrorism.

Caitlynn Kelley, Journalist

In 2019, President Trump ordered the United States Military to withdraw from Syria, leaving our Kurdish allies alone to ward off the Islamic State. President Trump’s reason to get out of Syria was so that the United States wouldn’t have to be a part of numerous ‘bloody wars.’ This has been criticized by both sides of the political spectrum. The same month (October) that President Trump withdrew American troops, New York Times photojournalists got proof of the Russian Air Force bombing four Syrian hospitals on May 5th and May 6th of 2019. The Russian Air Force has been bombing Syrian hospitals since 2011. The hospitals that they have bombed are on the list of “deconfliction zones,” which is sponsored by the United Nations. It is known that for many years Russia has been attacking hospitals to help Bashar Al-Assad of Syria win in the Syrian Civil War. In May 31, 2018, Bashar Al-Assad said that America must leave Syria. He further stated that America didn’t have legal bases to be in Iraq or Syria.  These events are very shocking and leave Syrian civilians and families in serious danger. Students and staff at University Preparatory gave their input on this serious event. 

Senior Jordan Ford gave his opinion on how military withdrawal will affect the reputation of the US military. “Although in my opinion it shouldn’t, this makes the military look bad. For quite some time, the United States has acted as a police power for the world, interfering with conflicts even when there is no obvious benefit towards us. It is reasonable to say that the United States ending its military involvement in Syria gave Russians the opportunity to carry out this type of attack, considering that the military being there prevented it, and if it had happened while the military was there, they may have been able to stop it, so all in all, it looks bad on the military.” 

He also gave his outlook on how this event would affect students at University Preparatory, especially those of Syrian descent. “I feel it wouldn’t necessarily have an effect within the school (since in today’s world, you are less likely to see ethnicity directed hate than in past times). However, it could affect the personal lives of some students, say, students with strongly culture-orientated families, students with family in Syria being affected, etc.”

Social Sciences teacher, Mr. Schreckengost, has a differing opinion on how the US military withdrawal from Syria would affect the US military’s reputation. “This does not have an effect on the United States military, but it has a consequence when it comes to our diplomacy and if the United States will use other means, including the military, to stop actions like the one discussed from happening in the future.” He also believes that this event would negatively affect students here at University Preparatory and the United States as a whole. “It may create more resentment between cultures and distrust. This might weaken the influence of the United States as being willing to react militarily to such actions in the future.” 

Even though this event might not affect the students here, either of Syrian descent or not, it still doesn’t damper the effect of this event in Syria. Innocent medical workers, around 916, have been killed because of these attacks. Carelessly or intentionally bombing hospitals is a war crime. Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, opened an investigation into why the bombings have happened in the first place, even though the hospitals were listed as deconfliction zones. The permanent Russian representative to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, tried to deflect the blame from Russia to the United Nations. He stated that he wants the investigation to look into how the United Nations added false information in their deconfliction process, not on who is responsible for the bombings.