Truce collapses with airstrike on hospital in Syria

Of the total 38 civilian deaths, 14 were patients and three Doctors Without Borders at an MSF-backed hospital

Damascus: At least 17 people were killed in an air strike on a hospital in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the charity Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF), famously called Doctors Without Borders said on Wednesday.

Civil defence volunteers wrap a body in a plastic bag after the air strike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of al-Kalasa in Aleppo. Pic/AFP
Civil defence volunteers wrap a body in a plastic bag after the air strike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of al-Kalasa in Aleppo. Pic/AFP

Three doctors and 14 patients were among the ones killed in the air strike at the MSF-supported Al-Quds hospital.

MSF sources blamed the Syrian government or Russian warplanes for the attack, but there was no official comment. The attacks by both sides left at least 38 civilians dead and dozens more wounded, a monitoring group said.

Ceasefire falters
Violence in Syria has intensified in recent days, despite a partial truce. The upsurge in violence comes amid reports that the Syrian army, backed by Russian air power, is gearing up for a major offensive in Aleppo.

The escalation has threatened to derail the UN-brokered peace talks, which resumed last month. On Wednesday, the UN envoy to Syria urged the US and Russia to intervene “at the highest level” to save the talks.

“MSF-supported hospital in Aleppo destroyed, at least 14 patients and three staff members killed, toll expected to rise,” MSF tweeted yesterday.

It said the hospital was well known locally and had been hit by a direct air strike. “We condemn the destruction of the Al-Quds hospital, depriving people of essential healthcare,” the charity added.

Heavy damage
An activist at the scene, Zuhair, said the buildings around the hospital were also hit. “It was an air strike by two rockets, heavy rockets from [a] Russian air strike,” he said. The civil defence agency, which is staffed by volunteers, said the hospital and surrounding buildings were hit by four consecutive air strikes.

Last paediatrician in Aleppo killed

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said among the killed was the city’s last paediatrician Dr Mohammed Wasim Moaz (36). Moaz, five colleagues and at least three children being treated at the hospital were killed, when it was hit by four direct strikes just before midnight on Wednesday.

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