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Syrian filmmaker denounces UN over hospital bombings

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New York (AFP)

Waad al-Kateab, the director of Oscar-nominated Syrian film "For Sama," demonstrated outside the United Nations headquarters on Thursday to denounce the bombings of hospitals in her war-torn country.

"Shame, UN, shame," "Shame, (UN Secretary-General Antonio) Guterres, shame," chanted the filmmaker, whose autobiographical documentary is in the running for this year's Academy Awards.

Addressing some dozen protesters belonging to the NGO Physicians for Human Rights, Waad al-Kateab read out messages from doctors testifying to the devastation caused by the bombing of hospitals in rebel-held areas of Syria.

Rights groups accuse Russian warplanes of hitting hospitals and medical clinics while supporting government forces trying to retake control of Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold.

In August, the UN opened an internal investigation into some of the attacks, which Moscow denies carrying out.

The probe was expected to be completed by the end of January but has been postponed until mid-March.

Waad al-Kateab is worried that it will never be made public, leading to "more misinformation instead of telling the truth of what's happening in Syria."

She added that she did not trust the UN and Guterres, adding that the world body was "helping" President Bashar al-Assad's offensive in northwestern Syria.

"They should take responsibility. They are the UN. They shouldn't be taking one side and helping the Assad regime," said the filmmaker, now based in London.

Russia regularly uses its power as a permanent member of the UN Security Council to veto issues related to Syria. It has limited the scope of the investigation.

At least 60 hospitals and medical units have been struck since April but the investigation relates to just seven, according to The New York Times.

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