Talk:Alleged Russian strike on Sarmin hospital

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See also Talk:Alleged Chemical Attack, March 16, 2015


SAMS facility near Sarmin, Idlib was directly targeted by allegedly Russian airstrikes on October 20, 2015
The explosion happen to the right of the half-finished building across the street corner behind the ambulance. Behind the trees and to the right are two schools that may have acted as militant headquarters On the street is ruble from an earlier strike: the small guardhouse to the left of the school gate has been destroyed.
Screenshot of video showing explosion across the street from hospital. (The hospital is the building on the left, not the one in the street corner.)

The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) reports on its on Facebook page

Yesterday, a SAMS facility near Sarmin, Idlib was directly targeted. SAMS is saddened to report that two of our medical staff, a physiotherapist and a nurse, were killed in the attack. The facility has been severely damaged as well.
SAMS condemns this attack. SAMS condemns all attacks on medical and civilian infrastructure. The international community must act to end these attacks.
Other sources on the attack
  • At least dozen dead after Russian airstrike bombs Syrian hospital - AFP, Beirut, Oct 22, 2015
  • Three Syrian hospitals bombed since Russian airstrikes began, doctors say - The Guardian, October 22, 2015
    At least three hospitals have been bombed by fighter jets in north-western Syria since Russia’s intervention in the war began in late September, doctors and international observers claim.
    The latest attack, on Tuesday, killed at least 12 people at Sarmin hospital in Idlib province. At least three of the victims were believed to be medical staff. Survivors and witnesses said the hospital was hit by two airstrikes at about 1pm.
    Dr Mohamed Tennari, director of Sarmin hospital, said the facility appeared to have been directly targeted and could no longer serve patients on one of the fiercest frontlines in the war.
    He said the hospital had been the target of at least 10 other airstrikes earlier in the conflict. Throughout the war, international medical organisations have repeatedly claimed that medical facilities in opposition areas have been systematically targeted.
    In mid-March Sarmin hospital was the lead treatment centre in the aftermath of a massive chlorine attack. At the time Syrian regime helicopters dropped barrel bombs filled with chlorine, which left six dead and 50 injured and prompted further claims that Damascus had continued to use banned chemicals as instruments of war. Last month the hospital treated between 5,000-7,000 patients and undertook 100 surgeries, Tennari said.
  • Press Release: Two Medical Staff Killed in Russian Airstrikes on Sarmin - SAMS Foundation, October 22, 2015
  • VDC database records 13 people killed in this attack, all of them unsurprisingly adult males. 2 are named Aboud, 2 named Sawas, but otherwise from mixed families. That's just enough to suggest family targeting and/or to wonder why 2 sets of brothers were together at wherever the deadly blast happened. --Caustic Logic (talk) 05:40, 24 October 2015 (UTC)


The same field clinic also plays a central part on the alleged Chemical Attack, March 16, 2015
Sarmin Clinic Attack Map Labeled.png
Area overview
Abandoned school building destroyed
The first explosion destroyed the south wing of the abandoned school building and the small guardhouse on the left side of the gate. The second explosion destroyed the two larger guardhouses on the right.

Location of attack in Sarmin on October 20, 2015 as seen on video: north center of the city, on the main road, left from center as labeled in the graphic above (revisions as needed). A fuller view of the scene, inset at right, helps verify this location (note the minaret visible to the east, etc.).

The field clinic (matched with other videos of this famous but previously un-placed facility) is highlighted above, compared to the four destroyed buildings in two strikes. These were at the south end of the abandoned school across the street (see images below at right, and compare). The video is filmed after the first strike and at the moment of the second one, about 10-15 meters away from the cameraman.

Video Analysis

The distinctive tiling on the floor indicates that this is the same building as where the March "gas attack" videos were filmed. The hospital building is the second building south from the street corner. The SAMS photo is taken from the third floor, from the northeast corner room of the building. The half-finished building across the street is seen from the window. It does not seem to be damaged by the explosion. --Petri Krohn (talk) 11:25, 22 October 2015 (UTC)

I can't verify this yet, but it could be - we're talking the little building (larger one just south of it) on the left side of the north south street running south off the main street, by the dirt lot on the left? The angle building to the north isn't a clear match. But it's the right area for the baby transfer video mapped above to make sense - baby last seen driven this way. --Caustic Logic (talk) 22:57, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
Wherever it is, it's a total match for the clinic. Waiting room is a match, and the doorway - see 4:20 in night-time video, looking out: on the left side of the doorway an extra panel, and outside a wall to the left. Both in the new video, 0:44 and 0:49.
Looking closer, I'm pretty sure (94%) this is the spot. The angles are hard to be sure about but all kinds of little details match up. Good call, as usual. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:17, 25 October 2015 (UTC)

The blast seems pretty small to me, sounds fast but no jet sound FWIW, arriving from the west or W-NW it seems. (east or E-NE) --Caustic Logic (talk) 22:57, 22 October 2015 (UTC) And ... how is the clinic so damaged? The photo shows it's not, just jumbled a bit. The blast happens outside, just meters from this guy who lives just fine. Where were the 12 who died? Buried an inch under the dirt right where it hit? Makes no sense. The clinic is shielded by a building. Were the victims all seated in the back of that truck maybe? That could do it, but what timing. Or was it the second strike that hit the clinic and killed people? And if so, was the jumble photo taken after that? And why no more severe damage shown? Tennari makes it sound like a total loss, the worst of 11 air strikes against the place. But it looks like a strong wind came in the windows. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:23, 22 October 2015 (UTC)

There's a guy coming out of the clinic towards the end of the video. Urs has identified him as one Muawiya Hassan Agha, showing his facebook page and several photos/videos. Apparently an alleged witness of the chemical attack, likes posing armed on tanks and not only as a White Helmet, but is one of those who were seen with Nusra celebrating the conquest of Idlib. Small world. --CE (talk) 16:28, 23 October 2015 (UTC)

Russian response

Meanwhile the Russian Foreign ministry denied the claims and dissed SOHR. --CE (talk) 16:28, 23 October 2015 (UTC)

from that RT report:
"Experts have questioned the authenticity of the video posted by the rebels, stating that it is physically impossible to film such a powerful explosion from a few meters away and survive.
“It didn’t look like an aerial bomb dropped from an airplane. It appeared to come from an angle and the angle of the explosion appeared to be more like artillery,” a former policy analyst for the US Defense Department, Michael Maloof, told RT.
I don't think the video is fake or anything, but the low angle seems correct (but can't jet missles level off? must it be a dropped bomb?) As for surviving, I think the cameraman suffered a visible (bloody) injury to the right leg, from how Muawiya looks down with concern at, who waves his worries aside and sits down for treatment with a stiff leg. --Caustic Logic (talk) 05:29, 24 October 2015 (UTC)

According to RT, Russia said that it used KB -500 (500 kg bunker-buster) bomb, and showed a video-with a big black mushroom cloud; while in the video presented explosion looks different, and operator gets back on his feet shortly after (improbable if a 500 kg bomb goes off nearby). They also say that in the video, the building remains standing, while in the follow-up it is completely destroyed. text, video (in Russian, but initially in English --not sure where the English version would be). Russian FM pointed out that the report is filed from London. --Resup (talk) 18:44, 24 October 2015 (UTC)

Another Russian gem: This time MoD disses SAMS on their facebook account. Money quote: "This organization, which is registered in Illinois American state, has as much do with both medicine and doctors as ISIS has to do with the International Scout Movement." The rhetorical gloves are really coming off. I wasn't familiar with the term "stovepiping" they use. --CE (talk) 20:52, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

Better translation;; "We have been closely monitoring and analysing such hoaxes. First of all it is necessary to clarify information about the Syrian American Medical Society itself. This organization, registered in the American state of Illinois, has the same relation to medicine and doctors as the IS [Islamic State terrorist organization] to the international Scouting movement," Konashenkov said. -- source -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:05, 26 October 2015 (UTC)
"stovepiping": Russian is "информационный вброс" , which is midway between "information release" and manipulative or outright false information release ; "вброс" is like throw out stuff, possibly well packed but still kind of crap. This is very standard political technology neologism which everybody understands. I have seen before somewhere this translated as stovepiping (in some English media). --Resup (talk) 22:42, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

More from Russian MoD:

Defense Ministry invited military attaches of the United States of America, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and NATO and requested for official justification of the statements or refuting them. It was particularly in regard to flagrant accusations of “hitting” hospitals published by several English-speaking media agencies...The defense department of Russia is looking forward to receive the necessary explanations in a few days.

(They say they will investigate, given evidence). --Resup (talk) 19:14, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

MoD says that in five of the six villages in which SAMS accused them of bombing hospitals, no hospitals exist. The only existing one is in Sarmin and they show satellite images from October 31 which show it undestroyed (which is no news for us) --CE (talk) 16:05, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

Propaganda FAIL! - MoD publishes areal photos that they claim are from October 31st. But the buildings that were destroyed on October 20th (the three small guardhouses) are still intact in the photos! -- Petri Krohn (talk) 18:58, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
Excellent, I took it to a comment there. --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:36, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

Real target: school across the street

That lines up with the video and the photos. All this might deserve its own page. If I'm following right - and thanks so much Petri for leading (I'm not on the ball lately) - Tennari and others claim the clinic was directly targeted with two strikes, when only the school area was hit twice, with minor blast wave damage to windows etc. on the clinic - there's serious questions about what hit the school - Tennari claims the clinic was targeted ten times already and this 11th incident sounds like the worst, and the clinic is now unusable. Patients in one video are being taken out, maybe to one of his fabled underground clinics, or just to show how this place must be totaled (or just in danger?). Russian jets are blamed, of course. Anyway, a good analysis article with visuals might expose some serious dishonesty here. ... want to team up? --Caustic Logic (talk) 04:59, 25 October 2015 (UTC)

October 21 strike

Минобороны России ‏@mod_russia tweets October 21: 1, 2, 3, 4

  1. SYRIA On Oct.19, radiorecon means intercepted data concerning meeting of commanders of illegal armed groups operating near #Sarmin (#Idlib)
  2. SYRIA The meeting place, which was the underground floor of an abandoned building, was put under surveillance of #UAV's
  3. SYRIA Last night, after detection of 9 SUVs with machine guns, the whole object with its contents was destroyed with #KAB500 smart air bomb
  4. FOOTAGE Precision strike on meeting point of illegal armed groups command (#Idlib province)

Sounds like the October 20 strike in question - although the power of the blast is in question. Are they claiming this hit or not? Abandoned building = abandoned school? Near Sarmin = in Sarmin, at this school? Last night = mid-day the day before? No ... just to be clear, these sound like two distinct events, in case anyone tries to mix them up. --Caustic Logic (talk) 04:51, 25 October 2015 (UTC)

It seems that RT at least is mixing up the events here and here. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 09:06, 25 October 2015 (UTC)


Field Hospital History

From Google Earth imagery, we can see a well-funded hospital undergoing major growth up to the time of its alleged destruction. The original building was there as far back as images go (2004), and remained unchanged through mid-2013 - a squat, 2-story structure shorter than the building just north of it. Then by early 2014, they were adding a 3rd floor, making it as tall as the place next door. Later in the year, that floor was roofed over. A year later, just two month before this incident, they had a fourth floor built, but not roofed, and a new walled area added on the west side of the grounds. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:24, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

Sarmin Clinic Growth.png

All this expanding upward, besides all the equipment and likely expanded medical work inside, must have cost some serious money, which reminds me... there was some talk of financial problems regarding Dr. Tennari and this clinic, allegations of money missing or some such? I don't have that handy, but here's a space in case I or whoever finds it. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:24, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

Sorry, didn't analyze that with ground imagery (like the stuff right on this page). Not sure how many floors the hospital had at first, I guess just one, and the other place has just two floors, maybe on the tall side. We see maybe a second and then a third floor added, not 3rd and 4th. At the time of the October attack, it seems there are three complete and fully roofed floors. So that last floor was completed before this total destruction. --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:34, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Continuing Operations?

With Al-Quds Hospital, Aleppo we saw reports of the place re-opening after its total destruction, and continuing to make news for months, helping people after various alleged regime crimes. In this case ... I'm not sure. I don't think I ever did see the place come up again after this incident. Did I just forget, or did Tennari's field hospital in Sarmin drop off the radar for no visible reason just as it reached full size? --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:34, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

More hospitals

Moved to Rebel Clinics and Hospitals