‘Increased strikes’ kill 35 in Syria hospitals: MSF
BEIRUT – Agence France-Presse
REUTERS photoA “significant increase” of air strikes on Syrian hospitals recently has killed at least 35 patients and medical staff and wounded 72, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Oct. 29.
The group said the escalating attacks began in late September, though it did not identify who was behind them, and that 12 hospitals had been hit in Idlib, Aleppo and Hama provinces, including six supported by MSF.
Russia began an aerial campaign in support of Syria’s government on September 30 and has been accused by several other medical groups of hitting hospitals and field clinics since then.
In total, MSF said, “six hospitals were forced to close... and four ambulances destroyed.”
“One hospital has since reopened, yet access to emergency, maternity, pediatric and primary health care services remains severely disrupted.”
The statement said “tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes” as a result of the attacks.
“After more than four years of war, I remain flabbergasted at how international humanitarian law can be so easily flouted by all parties to this conflict,” said Sylvain Groulx, MSF chief for Syria.
In addition to Russia’s air strikes, Syria’s air force and a U.S.-led coalition targeting Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are also carrying out raids in Syria.
In recent days two medical organizations have directly accused Russia of strikes that have hit their medical facilities.
Last week, the Syrian-American Medical Society (SAMS), said an estimated nine Russian air strikes had hit hospitals or field clinics in Syria, including several of its facilities.
Among them was a field clinic in the town of Sarmin in the northwestern province of Idlib, which was hit on October 20, killing 13 people, including a physiotherapist and a nurse, according to SAMS.
And this week, the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations NGO said three hospitals it supports had been targeted in air strikes.
Nearly 600 people have been killed in Russian air strikes in Syria nearly a month into Moscow’s campaign, two-thirds of them opposition fighters, a monitor said on Oct. 29.
A total of 595 people have been killed in Russian strikes since September 30, two-thirds of them fighters with opposition forces including ISIL, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The other third, some 185 people, were civilians, including 48 children, the Britain-based monitor said.
Russia has carried out strikes throughout Syria, with only four of the country’s 14 provinces untouched by the aerial campaign since it began, according to the group.