Médecins Sans Frontières: Fourteen people, including at least two doctors, were killed Wednesday night in the bombing of a hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, the medical humanitarian organization said today.
According to hospital staff on the ground, the Al Quds hospital in Aleppo was destroyed by at least one airstrike which directly hit the building, reducing it to rubble. Other airstrikes in the neighborhood also hit areas close to the hospital.
“MSF categorically condemns this outrageous targeting of yet another medical facility in Syria,” said Muskilda Zancada, MSF head of mission for Syria. “This devastating attack has destroyed a vital hospital in Aleppo, and the main referral center for pediatric care in the area. Where is the outrage among those with the power and obligation to stop this carnage?”
The situation in Aleppo city, consistently at the frontlines of the brutal conflict, was critical even before this attack. An estimated 250,000 people remain in the city, which has seen dramatic increases in levels of bombardment, fighting and fatalities in recent weeks. Only one road remains open in and out of the non-government held areas. If this road becomes blocked, the city will be besieged. [Continue reading…]
The Guardian reports: The Syrian government considers any medical facilities in opposition-held territory as legitimate military targets, saying that they are de facto illegal. Hospitals in opposition-held parts of Syria are refusing to share GPS coordinates with Russian and Syrian authorities because of repeated attacks on medical facilities and workers, fearing that sharing the locations would make the hospitals targets.
As early as 2013, the UN independent commission of inquiry investigating alleged war crimes in Syria said attacks on medical facilities were being used systematically as a weapon of war by the Assad regime. Attacks by both sides on medical facilities have continued unabated in recent months. MSF said in February that a total of 94 airstrikes and shelling attacks hit facilities supported by the organisation in 2015 alone.
In February last year, the NGO Physicians for Human Rights said it had documented 224 attacks on 175 health facilities since the start of the conflict, and 599 medical personnel had been killed. The attacks continued after the Russian intervention – the organisation documented at least 10 attacks by Russian aircraft on medical facilities in October alone, the first month of Russia’s aerial campaign. [Continue reading…]