Airstrike hits Doctors Without Borders facility in Syria

AFP-JIJI

Suspected Russian airstrikes hit a hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders in Syria on Monday, killing nine people, including a child, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“A building that housed a hospital supported by MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres) was destroyed on Monday by aircraft, presumably Russian,” near Maaret al-Numan in the northern province of Idlib, the British-based monitor said.

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 airstrikes” on Monday.

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 theaters, an outpatient 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,” Rebaudengo said.

The organization supports around 150 hospitals in Syria.

Russian warplanes have conducted airstrikes in Syria since Sept. 30 in support of President Bashar Assad’s forces.

The Observatory says it determines whether strikes were carried out by Syrian, Russian or U.S.-led coalition aircraft based on the location of the raids, flight patterns and the types of planes involved.