Air strikes hit MSF-backed hospital in Syria, 9 dead

Beirut: Suspected Russian air strikes hit a hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Syria today, killing nine people including a child, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said .”A building that housed a hospital supported by MSF was destroyed on Monday by aircraft, presumably Russian,” near Maaret al-Numan in the northern province of Idlib, said the British-based monitor.

The raids also left dozens wounded, said the Observatory,which relies on a network of sources on the ground. MSF confirmed in a statement that a hospital supported by the aid group in Idlib province was “destroyed in air strikes” today.

It did not give a death toll but said at least eight members of staff were missing after four rockets hit the
30-bed facility, which had 54 staff, two operating theatres, an outpatients’ department and an emergency room. “This appears to be a deliberate attack on a health structure, and we condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms,” said Massimiliano Rebaudengo, the head of MSF’s Syria mission.

“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,” Massimiliano said.

The organisation supports around 150 hospitals in Syria. Russian warplanes have conducted air strikes in Syria since September 30 in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. The Observatory says it determines whether strikes were carried out by Syrian, Russian or US-led coalition aircraft based on the location of the raids, flight patterns and the types of planes involved.

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