Children’s hospital destroyed in Syrian air strikes

A hospital specialising in paediatrics in a rebel-held northern Syria has been destroyed in a series of air strikes over the weekend that killed 13 people, including four staff and five children, Medecins Sans Frontieres said on Monday.

The international medical charity said that two of four air strikes directly hit the hospital in Millis, in the northern province of Idlib, and put it out of service. Six other hospital staff were wounded in the daylight air strikes on Saturday. The bombing of the hospital that serves as a reference centre specialising in pediatrics also destroyed the operating theatre, intensive care unit, paediatric department, ambulances and a generator, the charity said.

MSF said the hospital attack deprived 70,000 people in Millis and surrounding areas of essential medical care. The hospital, supported by MSF since 2014, used to receive 250 patients per day, many of them women and children

“The direct bombing of another hospital in Syria is an outrage,” says Silvia Dallatomasina, medical manager of MSF operations in north-western Syria. She called for an immediate end to attacks on hospitals, pointing out that four out of five UN Security Council members were participants in the war in Syria.

Syrian hospitals, mostly in rebel-held areas, are attacked regularly. In July alone, the UN recorded 44 attacks on health facilities in Syria. Syria’s government and Russia, a major ally that has been carrying out air strikes in Syria since September, deny targeting health facilities.

In recent days, a number of attacks were reported on medical facilities amid increased violence, and ultimately increased pressure on the health facilities, in northern Syria.

MSF said two facilities it supports in Idlib, controlled by insurgents, had reported nine mass influxes of wounded in July that left 466 wounded and 37 dead. In the first six months of 2016, the same facilities reported only seven mass influxes of wounded, with a total 294 wounded and 33 dead.

Source: Associated Press

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