Airstrikes on MSF hospital in Aleppo kills at least 30

Published April 28th, 2016 - 01:32 GMT
A man gestures while walking through rubble after multiple airstrikes in Aleppo today. (AFP/Amee Alhalbi)
A man gestures while walking through rubble after multiple airstrikes in Aleppo today. (AFP/Amee Alhalbi)

"We have 30 bodies: 22 identified and eight others whose names are not known yet," Abdel-Rahman, a member of the non-governmental group the White Helmet Civil Defence told dpa by phone.

He said the death toll is expected to rise as more bodies are pulled from the rubble of the al-Qudos hospital in the rebel-held al-Sukari neighbourhood.

Doctors Without Borders, also known as MSF, said that at least 14 people, including two doctors, were killed in the bombardment.

"This devastating attack has destroyed a vital hospital in Aleppo, and the main referral centre for pediatric care in the area," Muskilda Zancada, the MSF head of mission in Syria, said.

Elswhere in the city, at least 20 civilians, including three children, were killed in airstrikes in the opposition-controlled neighbourhoods of Bustan al-Qasr and al-Kalasa, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

An estimated 250,000 people remain in Aleppo, which has seen dramatic increases in levels of bombardments, fighting and fatalities in recent weeks, the aid group said.

"Only one road remains open in and out of the non-government held areas. If it gets cut off, the city will become besieged," MSF added in a statement.

The Observatory reported that at least 27 civilians were killed in the bombardment of the hospital, including three children and Wassim Mouaz, the last pediatrician in the district.

The hospital is now out of service after suffering 14 strikes late Wednesday, the Observatory's head Rami Abdel-Rahman said.

The identity of the warplanes that carried out the strikes was not known.

The opposition accused pro-government Russian jets of involvement.

"We have information that the strikes were mounted by the Russian aircraft on the hospital," George Sabra, a member of the Western-backed main opposition grouping, the Higher Committee for Negotiation, told dpa from Paris. 

Aleppo, Syria's pre-war commercial hub is divided between a government-held western sector and the rebel-held east.

In recent months, regime military advances, backed by Russian airstrikes, have put the east - already devastated by years of shelling and air raids - at risk of siege.

In Geneva, senior UN envoy Jan Egeland warned that millions of Syrians are at immediate risk of being cut off from humanitarian aid unless fighting subsides.

"So many humanitarian health workers and relief workers are being bombed, killed, maimed at the moment that the whole lifeline to millions of people is now ... at stake," he told reporters.

Global and regional powers that form the International Syria Support Group promised in a Geneva meeting on Thursday that they would use their influence on the Syrian government and armed rebels, Egeland said.

"We hope that it will be real pressure on the parties."

Alarmed over the spike of violence in Syria, international mediator Staffan de Mistura Thursday called on the United States and Russia to urgently help salvage a major truce in the country and UN-sponsored talks aimed at ending its five-year-old war.

The US-Russian-brokered ceasefire went into effect in February. But a surge in violence in recent weeks has left the truce in tatters.
By Weedah Hamzah and Albert Otti

© 2021 dpa GmbH

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