Suspected Russian airstrikes hit MSF-backed hospital in Syria, 9 dead, including a child
by Compiled from Wire Services
ISTANBULFeb 15, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Compiled from Wire Services
Feb 15, 2016 12:00 am
Suspected Russian airstrikes hit a hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Syria on Monday, killing nine people including a child, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
An MSF spokesman confirmed that a hospital supported by the aid group was struck in Maaret al-Numan, about 280 kilometers (170 miles) north of Damascus, but was unable to give a death toll.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Russian warplanes targeted the makeshift hospital, destroying it and killing and wounding dozens.
"A building that housed a hospital supported by MSF was destroyed on Monday by aircraft, presumably Russian," near Maaret al-Numan, said the British-based monitor.
In the neighboring Aleppo province, a missile struck a children's hospital in the town of Azaz, killing at least five people and wounding dozens on Monday. And in a nearby village, an air raid hit a school, killing seven and wounding several others.
"This appears to be a deliberate attack on the health structure, and we condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms," said Massimiliano Rebaudengo, MSF's mission chief. "The destruction of the hospital leaves the local population of around 40,000 people without access to medical services in an active zone of conflict."
The aid group said the hospital had 30 beds, 54 staff members, two operating theatres, an outpatients department and an emergency room. The statement added that MSF has been supporting the hospital since September and covered all its needs, including providing medical supplies and running costs.
Over the past week, Syrian troops have been on the offensive in the country's north under the cover of Russian airstrikes. The ground offensive has been focused on the northern province of Aleppo while Monday's airstrike struck the clinic in the nearby Idlib province.
"The entire building has collapsed on the ground," said opposition activist Yahya al-Sobeih, speaking by telephone from Maaret al-Numan.
He added that five people were killed near the clinic and "all members of the medical team inside are believed to be dead."
Paramedics and volunteers were now working on removing the rubble, he added. The four-story building once was a cement company but had served as a makeshift clinic during the war, said al-Sobeih.
In the missile attack in Azaz near the Turkish border, five were killed at the hospital and more than 30 were wounded, the Observatory said. Activist Bahaa al-Halaby who is based in the northern city of Aleppo says it was a ballistic missile adding that it killed 10. The Observatory said the dead include three children and a pregnant woman.
In Turkey, the private Dogan news agency reported that more than 30 of those wounded in Russian airstrikes in Azaz, primarily children, were transferred to a hospital in southern Turkey. It showed footage of ambulances arriving at the Kilis State hospital and medical personnel unloading children on stretchers and a girl wrapped in a blanket, as well as a handful of adults.
"They hit the school, they hit the school," wailed a Syrian woman who was unloaded from an ambulance onto a wheelchair.
The Observatory and al-Halaby also reported an air raid on the village of Kaljibrin near Azaz. Al-Halaby said the air raid hit a school, killing seven and wounding others while the Observatory said five were killed.
The MSF organization supports around 150 hospitals in Syria.