DEBKAfile’s military sources report the spreading suspicion that President Bashar Assad or a member of his regime ordered the missile attacks on five medical facilities and two schools that killed 50 civilians, including children and medical volunteer staff, in northern Syria.
In their condemnations of the atrocity Tuesday, both UN .Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the US State Department avoided explicitly holding Russia responsible, in contrast to European rights groups. And indeed, Moscow later categorically denied it conducted those raids.
A high-ranking Middle East intelligence source told DEBKAfile: Assad or one of his generals or intelligence chiefs may have acted to put a spoke in the US-Russian agreement for the cessation of hostilities this coming Friday, or even signaled Washington and Moscow that the Syrian dictator is still in the game and will not be brushed aside by international accords.
The wording of the US State Department condemnation is telling: "That the Assad regime and its supporters would continue these attacks… casts doubt on Russia's willingness and/or ability to help bring to a stop the continued brutality of the Assad regime against its own people."