The Latest: Merkel assails Assad, Russia on hospital attacks

BEIRUT (AP) " The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is criticizing deliberate attacks on hospitals on Syria, and says it's "very regrettable" that Russia is supporting President Bashar Assad's government.

Merkel renewed her criticism of Assad and Russia's backing of him in a speech on Wednesday to the German Parliament.

She said: "There are too many indications that hospitals and medical facilities are deliberately being bombed and, pardon me, that is internationally forbidden, that has to be pursued under criminal law."

Merkel added: "The Assad regime must know, and it is very regrettable that Russia is supporting this regime."

She pledged to keep pursuing political solutions, "even if it seems as hopeless as it does at present."

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10:40 a.m.

An Iranian semi-official news agency is quoting an official as saying that more than 1,000 fighters sent from Iran have been killed in the Syrian war so far.

It quotes Mohammad Ali Shahidi as saying "the number of martyred defenders of shrines ... has passed the number of 1,000."

Shahidi did not elaborate. In August, he was quoted as saying that there have been at least 400 members of Iranian brigades killed in Syria, half of them Afghan.

Some Afghan Shiites who live in Iran have been fighting alongside Iranians in Syria.

Shahidi runs the Martyr Foundation, which supports families of those killed in conflicts. His remarks were reported by the Tasnim agency on Tuesday.

Iran has provided military and political backing to President Bashar Assad in Syria's civil war.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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