The Latest: Turkey rejects allegation it bombed hospital
MOSCOW – The Latest on developments related to the war in Syria (all times local):
Turkey’s military has rejected allegations it bombed a hospital in Afrin in northwestern Syria, where it’s engaged in an offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters.
The military tweeted aerial footage and photographs of the town’s general hospital from Saturday morning, showing it was intact. The army said in a statement the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units or YPG were trying to create a “negative perception” of the Turkish military.
On Friday, YPG official Redur Khalil and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported an airstrike on the hospital. The Observatory said 16 people were killed in the hospital including two pregnant women.
Turkey launched an offensive against the YPG on Jan. 20 to clear Afrin. The country considers the YPG a terror group and a wing of a Kurdish insurgency operating within its own border.
Russia’s military says more than 11,000 people have left Syria’s besieged eastern Ghouta outside the capital Damascus in the past few hours as government forces step up an offensive on the rebel enclave.
Maj. Gen. Vladimir Zolotukhin was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying that some 3,000 people have been leaving every hour Saturday through a government-run humanitarian corridor monitored by the Russian military.
Zolotukhin is spokesman for the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria.
Airstrikes in Syria killed more than 100 people on Friday as civilians fled en masse. Under cover of allied Russian air power, Syrian government forces have been on a crushing offensive for three weeks on eastern Ghouta.
The weekslong violence has left more than 1,300 civilians dead and 5,000 wounded.