03:54 GMT +330 March 2017
    State Department Spokesman John Kirby speaks during the daily briefing at the State Department on January 6, 2015 in Washington, DC

    Data on Syria Leading to Kirby Offending RT Reporter Obtained From US-Based NPO

    © AFP 2017/ MANDEL NGAN
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    The information that the US State Department received on the alleged bombing of several hospitals in Syria, which the department’s spokesperson John Kirby then blamed on Russia, came from the Turkish office of the Washington-based non-profit organization Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS).

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – On Wednesday, Kirby accused Russia and Damascus of bombing hospitals in Syria, prompting a question from an RT reporter regarding the details of these alleged attacks. Kirby, in turn, said that he was not going to put RT "on the same level" with other reporters present, which "are representing independent media outlets."

    On Thursday, the State Department gave RT information on the alleged strikes targeting five hospitals and one mobile clinic in Syria.

    SAMS Turkey Advocacy Manager Mohamad Katoub confirmed to Sputnik that the information on the alleged strikes given to RT by the US State Department came from their volunteers working in Syria. Katoub stressed that the center has no official information on who actually destroyed the hospitals.

    Damage Confirmed, Circumstances Unclear

    The data that the US State Department gave to RT was signed "Health Cluster Turkey Hub." World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told RIA Novosti that the hub works under the patronage of the WHO and coordinates trans-border healthcare-related operations with the participation of 40 other partner structures.

    Jasarevic advised to contact SAMS Turkey Advocacy Manager Mohamad Katoub for further details.

    Katoub told Sputnik that the SAMS nonprofit was told by its medical personnel that the hospitals mentioned by the US State Department were destroyed by airstrikes, but Russia’s involvement in the strikes is only an assumption "based on witness reports."

    The WHO has also been unable to identify the party responsible for the airstrikes, although it did confirm the existence of the hospitals under question. Jasarevic told RIA Novosti that the WHO has direct contact with five of the hospitals and employees at the medical facilities have confirmed that destruction did take place.

    However, the WHO refused to release the exact location of the hospitals and did not provide any photo or video material confirming that the facilities had come under airstrikes.

    A regional office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Damascus confirmed to Sputnik that two hospitals west of Aleppo came under fire on November 14, however they were unable to confirm that the destruction of the facilities was caused by airstrikes.

    'Information Blooper'

    Russia's Defense Ministry on Friday dismissed US Department of State spokesman John Kirby's statements on alleged bombings of the hospitals in Syria by Russian and Syrian aircraft. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said it was an "information blooper."

    He added that US and international organizations say they have no data on the location of medical aid posts in Syria's regions controlled by militants.

    "We have repeatedly asked representatives of the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, other countries and international organizations to provide any information on the location of medical aid posts ['hospitals'] or schools in Syrian areas controlled by terrorists," Konashenkov said. "The answer is always the same — no one has such information," he said.

    The territories mentioned in the information report provided to RT by the US State Department are currently under the control of the Jabhat Fatah al Sham (Jabhat al-Nusra, or al-Nusra Front) radical group, outlawed in Russia.

    Three of the five mentioned hospitals are located in Syria’s Aleppo province where the Russian aircraft have not been conducting any airstrikes for the past month, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

    Russia Calls for Responsibility

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after bilateral talks with US State Secretary John Kerry in Lima, Peru on Thursday that spokesman Kirby must be disciplined by the US State Department for the discriminative treatment of the RT journalist.

    "We believe it is unacceptable, not reflecting the American proclaimed values and I hope that this was not the position of the State Department and this is certainly not the position of the Secretary of State, I can assure you," Lavrov stressed.

    However, the issue was not brought up during the Lavrov-Kerry talks held on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders week in Lima.

    Russia has repeatedly stressed that all intelligence data used to conduct airstrikes against terrorists in Syria is thoroughly verified prior to sending out aircraft. All accusations against Russia saying that its airstrikes in Syria have allegedly hurt civilians have not been supported with any factual evidence.

    Numerous armed groups, including terrorists such as Daesh and Jabhat Fatah al Sham (Jabhat al-Nusra, or al-Nusra Front), as well as opposition factions, have been fighting in the Syrian civil war against forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad. Both Russia and the United States (the latter as part of a US-led international coalition) have launched airstrikes against terrorists in Syria.

    The internal conflict in Syria has lasted for about five years. A September ceasefire, negotiated by Russia, which supports Assad, and the United States, which supports the so-called moderate opposition in Syria, has failed to hold.

    According to Lavrov, a major stumbling block in the resolution of the Syrian crisis is US reluctance to differentiate between opposition groups and terrorists, particularly al-Nusra Front members.


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    The Syrian war, World Health Organization (WHO), Syrian American Medical Society, U.S. Department of State, John Kirby, Syria, United States
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    • avatar
      double bonus
      [Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after bilateral talks with US State Secretary John Kerry in Lima, Peru on Thursday that spokesman Kirby must be disciplined by the US State Department for the discriminative treatment of the RT journalist.]

      This is a very confusing statement, and the quote as provided in writing and on the news here, has a very different meaning, that the implications of what Lavrov actually said, on the news clip that pictured him in it.

      In writing, it seems like Lavrov is issuing an order to discipline Kirby; which creates problems because Kirby is just doing his job, and saying what he is told to say.

      But, in watching the actual visual news clip of Lavrov, it said something entirely different. It said almost the opposite: that Lavrov wasn't really interested in taking a position on Kirby's behavior; and that if Kirby was failing in his job role, and was going to be held accountable, it must come from his own superiors, instead of from Russia.

      Almost, like Lavrov understands that Kirby is just doing his job, and that if he is NOT, then he would be disciplined by his superiors. But, if Kirby IS doing his job, and it is the State Dept. persecuting the RT channel; then Kirby would not be disciplined, and the act of NOT doing it, would be reflective, that this persecution of the RT channel, or perhaps the RT correspondent, was the actual stated policy of the State Dept. under Obama, which is what it would actually appear to be.

      So, this quote in writing is a bit misleading, from the implications of what Lavrov actually said, in the visual news clip, which he did say in English.
    • Jet fuel can't melt steel beams
      Well basically made-up news! Thanks kirby!
    • avatar
      double bonus
      That's why Kirby didn't want to give it up, and gave the RT journalist so much heat, about continually asking these questions. He knew he was totally busted. Apparently, Kirby was "bluffing" like a poker player, in saying that RT would NEVER ask its defense minister these questions; just like John Kerry was "bluffing" when he said that Assad would never get rid of his chemical weapons; which Lavrov also caught him on; and then disposed of them, forcing the US to NOT be able to bomb Syria, on the chemical weapons issue.

      So, now we know, that when Kirby or the others start TRASHING the RT Correspondent, that means that RT has caught them red-handed in a blatant lie, and they are busted; and they will keep trying to lie their way out of it, by criticizing either the RT channel, or Russia itself, instead.

      It is no surprise, that Kirby was quoting Western sources of information in Syria. What IS surprising, is that he was lying about the information itself; assigning blame on Kirby's end, when the people supplying the information themselves, refused to assess ANY blame; and even indicated that these hospitals were most-likely bombed by the US-backed rebels, instead of by Russia.

      So, Kirby is blaming Russia, for bad deeds the US-backed rebels are doing there, and then refusing to separate the so-called moderates from the extremists, so that Russia can attack them. It seems that Kirby or the State Dept. is deliberately trying to block Russia from fighting the terrorists in Syria, just because Russia tried to say in the media, that this was the one existing point of agreement, between the US and Russia, and Kirby or Obama's State Dept. want there to be NO points of "agreement" between Russia and the USA.
    • avatar
      double bonus
      After seeing this concept of RT not being treated "at the same level" as other journalists; I have to say that it appears both RT and the Russian gov't are taking these comments out of context.

      The issue was in treating the RT correspondent as a representative of the Russian government, and saying "Your defense Ministry". Kirby would not do that with an independent news outlet. He would not treat a journalist from an independent news outlet as a representative of their own country, but that they were asking their own individual questions.

      In other words, this was not about treating RT any differently than they were being treated in the past; but whether the RT journalist is there as a representative of the Russian gov't also.

      Given the response to this story, by the Russian gov't; we can see that neither Russia nor the RT correspondent are challenging that the RT journalist is also there as a representative of the Russian gov't; so you are saying that Kirby is correct, that the RT journalist IS a representative of the Russian gov't; and so he is treating her THAT way, instead of as an independent journalist, who would NOT necessarily be representing their own government's positions in their questions, but their questions would be regarded as their own.

      This "on a different level" was about the "agency" argument, NOT about unequal treatment. In other words, there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about what Kirby was actualy talking about, specifically with Matt Lee in that news clip RT keeps showing.
    • Tony Rossiniin reply todouble bonus(Show commentHide comment)
      double bonus,
      RT is state funded....the same as BBC and DW (Deutsche Welle).
      The BBC is even more in the pockets of it's Government than RT is.....that was not always the case.
      If you ever watch RT....there's a number of British & American hosts and programmes....I mean even Larry King has 2 regular programme series on RT.
      When have you seen Russian journalists or hosts.....or programme aired on the BBC.?
      Answer NEVER
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