Amnesty International claims Syrian forces, Russia deliberately hit hospitals
A young Syrian injured in an attack by regime forces waits to be taken to hospital, October 21, 2012, in Aleppo. (AFP/Fabio Bucciarelli)
Russian and Syrian regime forces have deliberately struck hospitals and medical facilities in Aleppo as they advance on the north Syrian town, according to Amnesty International.
The human rights body said it had gathered evidence of at least six deliberate attacks on hospitals and clinics in the northern part of the Aleppo countryside in the past 12 weeks.
Three civilians and a medical worker were killed and 44 others injured in the attacks, which Amnesty described as “war crimes”.
Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response director, said hospitals had become “the new front line” in the offensive by Russian and Syrian regime forces.
Hassan said: “Syrian and Russian forces have been deliberately attacking health facilities in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. But what is truly egregious is that wiping out hospitals appears to have become part of their military strategy.
“The latest string of attacks on health facilities north of Aleppo appears to be part of a pattern of attacks on medics and hospitals, a strategy that has destroyed scores of medical facilities and killed hundreds of doctors and nurses since the start of the conflict.”
Amnesty also quoted a doctor from the town of Anadan, north-west of Aleppo, as saying most people fled the city after the field hospital was attacked on Feb. 2 this year.
“The field hospital is barely operating and the center is closed. The problem is that not everyone is able to leave. The ones who stayed behind are elderly people who are in desperate need of medical treatment,” the doctor said.
- Syrian journalists: Russian airstrikes targeting Turkmen civilians
- Turkey accuses Russia of killing 50 in bombings of hospitals, schools
- Russia denies hospital bombing, Syrian ambassador blames US
- Nine Russian airstrikes pound Syrian hospitals: doctors
- Russian airstrikes hit two hospitals in Aleppo, six killed: sources