A Russian airstrike has destroyed a makeshift clinic in Syria supported by an International aid group, activists and officials reported
A spokesperson from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said the airstrike killed and wounded several people. It’s been reported that all members of the medical team inside the structure are believed to be dead.
“This appears to be a deliberate attack on a health structure, and we condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms,” Massimiliano Rebaudengo, MSF’s mission chief, charged.
“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,” he said.
The hospital, in the town of Maarat al-Noaman, was hit by four missiles in two sets of attacks within a few minutes of each other, the charity said, citing reports by hospital staff members. Both Russian and Syrian warplanes operate over the area, in the insurgent-held Idlib Province. Seven people were killed, including five patients, a staff member and a guard. Eight more staff members are missing in the rubble, the charity said, and an unknown number of patients are also missing.
The charity added that about 15 other buildings had been struck in residential areas nearby.
It was the second time in a week that a hospital working with the charity was hit. The charity said an affiliated hospital was bombed in Dara’a Province in southern Syria on Feb. 9.
According to the aid group, the hospital had 30 beds and 54 staff members. Activists say the facility was four stories and once was a cement company.
Rescue crews are now working to remove the rubble and search for survivors.
Russian officials have said their country’s airstrikes do not target civilians and have not killed any, though the United States and allied insurgent groups say that Moscow has bombed indiscriminately.
Syrian antigovernment monitoring groups say that Russian strikes have been the largest single cause of deaths in the war this year, and that they have killed hundreds of civilians, hitting schools, medical facilities and residential areas.
The strike came amid days of escalation along the Syria-Turkey border, despite the United States and Russia having agreed on Thursday in Munich to work for a cease-fire, said to be starting by the end of this week.
Doctors Without Borders has found its hospitals increasingly coming under fire in conflict zones. American airstrikes killed 42 people at an affiliated hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, last year. The charity’s hospitals have also been hit in a Saudi air campaign in Yemen.