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Islamic State demolishes Russian Mi-24 attack helicopters in Syria; Russia denies

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Dozens of Russian military vehicles and attack helicopters deployed to Syria may have been pulverized in an apparent attack by Islamic State.

Satellite images appear to show extensive damage to a Syrian air base used by Russian forces following an attack by ISIS, US Intelligence Company Stratfor says.

The Russian Defense Ministry, nonetheless, has denied reports that Islamic State aggressors crushed four Russian helicopters at an air base in Syria’s Homs province.

On May 14, ISIS announced that four Russian attack helicopters and 20 supplies trucks were destroyed by fire. Around the same time, according to Stratfor, Syrian government sources reported “random explosions” in the T4 base area.

The claim was immediately denied by Russia’s Defence Ministry which said that the damage had been there for months and was due to fighting between Syrian Government forces and “militants from terror groups”.

Stratfor released satellite images dated from May 14 and May 17, implying that the damage to the T-4 base, also known as Tiyas, was caused in that time.

“The T4 air base was severely damaged by an Islamic State (IS) artillery attack. In particular, four Russian Mi-24 attack helicopters appear to have been destroyed,” Stratfor said on its website.

The images suggest four helicopters and 20 supplies trucks were destroyed by fire inside the base, which is strategically located in central Syria between war-ravaged Palmyra and Homs.

But the BBC quoted Stratfor analyst Sim Tack as saying that “this was not an accidental explosion”.

Islamic State demolishes Russian Mi-24 attack helicopters in Syria; Russia denies

It “would really be a marginal, almost non-existent chance for this to be accidental,” he added.

Mr Tack said there was evidence of “several different sources of explosions across the airport, and it shows that the Russians took a quite a bad hit”.

The Stratfor report said that “ordnance impact points are visible” in the images and that a Syrian MiG-25 fighter jet also appeared to have been damaged.

But Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said: “The burnt air and auto equipment along with many craters from shell detonations have been there for several months.

“This is a result of heavy combat for this aerodrome between Syrian Government forces and militants of terrorist groups.”

Russian news agency RIA Novosti quoted an unnamed Syrian source confirming a “fire” at the base, though he did not specify when it had occurred.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had reported shelling of the T-4 base on May 11 after IS jihadists briefly took control of part of a route between Palmyra and Homs.

The British-based Observatory also said two days later that continued shelling had caused an explosion at a fuel depot and a fire that destroyed three helicopters.

AFP

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Bir Hospital to get new surgery building

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KATHMANDU— The oldest hospital of the country, Bir Hospital, is in the process of getting a separate well-equipped building for surgery within the next two years.

The proposed nine-storey building will have 15 operation theaters.
The new building will have a post-operative ward; a 40-bed surgical ward; an Intensive Care Union (ICU); and a library as well. The new infrastructure will also have the facilities friendly to the senior citizens, disabled and the visitors, the National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS) says.

It is estimated to cost Rs 3.85 billion to complete the construction in two years. It is being constructed in an area of the old building of the NAMS nursing college which collapsed in the 2015 April earthquake. The building construction was inaugurated by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on March 9.

The hospital that had started its services in 1947 BS with 15 beds has now 450 beds. The NAMS operates Nursing, MBBS, MD classes and training as well.

The post of NAMS Chancellor has been lying vacant since the past five months. As shared by an employee, the delay in appointing the chancellor has caused inconveniences to the operation of hospital regular activities.

Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Population, Dr Sushilnath Pyakurel, said the recommendations have been already made before the minister to make appointments in the posts lying vacant in various health academies.

Similarly, infrastructures are being developed to upgrade the hospital by adding extra services including a helipad service for the first time from the government level.

The hospital has started its service from its branch at Duwakot of Bhaktapur from October 10 as part of its service expansion in line with the policy of the Ministry of Health.

The Duwakot branch provides OPD and surgery at present. OPD service starts from 9 am to 5 pm. The NAMS has permitted the construction of well equipped physical infrastructure for the hospital branch to provide international standard service, said the Hospital’s Director Prof Dr Bhupendra Basnet.

The Ministry of Health has allocated Rs 300 million as per the master plan of the NAMS and provided approximately 570 ropanis of land for the construction of physical infrastructures for the hospital branch.

“Necessary human resources including a medical officer, nurses and assistant health workers have been managed for the hospital branch. Medical equipment and other workforce that includes specialist doctors will also be managed as per need,” said Basnet.

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