14 killed as Syrian blast destroys Aleppo hospital
An airstrike in Syria has destroyed a hospital in Aleppo supported by the international charity, Doctors Without Borders, killing at least 14 people.
Among the dead were two doctors, including Aleppo’s last pediatrician working in rebel-controlled areas. News accounts reported three children were also killed in the night-time raid overnight into yesterday.
The attack came amidst a marked increase in violence in Aleppo, with nearly 200 killed in the past week in clashes between government forces supporting embattled President Bashar al-Assad and rebel groups trying to overthrow his regime. The rebels have bombarded government-controlled neighborhoods with rocket and artillery fire, while Syrian jetfighters have conducted air raids.
The fighting has left the country’s supposed ceasefire in shambles, with United Nations envoy, Staffan de Mistura, saying a so-called cessation of hostilities agreement was “barely alive.”
The pro-government newspaper Al-Watan said the Syrian army is now set for a “decisive battle” against rebel strongholds in Aleppo. An editorial in the newspaper said it was time for government forces to seize Aleppo, where 250,000 people live, and said the assault “will not take long to begin, nor to finish.”
The head of Doctors Without Borders’ Syrian mission, Muskilda Zancada, condemned the attack on Al Quds hospital, calling it an “outrageous targeting.”
“This devastating attack has destroyed a vital hospital in Aleppo, and the main referral centre for pediatric care in the area,” Zancada said. “Where is the outrage among those with the power and obligation to stop this carnage?”
With the Aleppo violence intensifying, Jan Egeland, the chair of the UN humanitarian task force on Syria, said: “I cannot express how high the stakes are for the next hours and days.”
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