Eleven bodies were recovered from under the rubble of a hospital funded by medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) that was struck by Russian warplanes in the town of Ma’aret al-Nouman in rural Idlib, an MSF spokesperson told reporters today.
“Rescue operations were still underway to look for survivors,” Serap Ozturk said. She added that 25 staffers were at the hospital when it came under a Russian attack on Monday.
“Three MSF staffers were injured, while 15 others survived the attack,” Ozturk said. “Rescuers have recovered the bodies of five staffers, five patients and an escort.”
The MSF spokeswoman said that she has no information about how many people were inside the hospital during the time of the attack. “We are afraid that the death toll might rise,” Ozturk said.
Ozturk pointed out that 17 hospitals had been bombed since the start of 2016, five of which are run by the charity organization. She strongly condemned the targeting of civilians and health facilities, calling for stopping such attacks and abiding by the international humanitarian law.
MSF confirmed yesterday that the hospital in the town of Maaret al-Numan was hit four times in airstrikes that were minutes apart.
The Syrian Coalition condemned the attacks: “It is not the first hospital to be targeted by Russian warplanes. Russia has targeted civilian neighborhoods, medical centers, schools and houses of worship.”
“While we hold Moscow fully responsible for these crimes, we warn that the international community’s continued inaction serves as an incentive for Russia to commit more crimes in Syria. Russia’s acts in Syria will not only negatively affect the political process, but will also encourage the spread of terrorism,” the Syrian Coalition added.
The Syrian Coalition called upon the ceasefire task force formed as part of the Munich agreement not to ignore the horrible crimes Russia continues to commit against the Syrian people. “These crimes would undermine all chances of reaching a political settlement to the conflict. The continued silence over Russia’s behavior in Syria undoubtedly represents complicity in these crimes and would ruin what has been achieved in Munich,” the Coalition said. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Anadolu Agency)