Two hospitals were hit by airstrikes on Monday killing 14 people. Doctors Without Borders said a hospital it funds was hit by four rockets, killing at least seven people and leaving eight staff members missing and presumed dead. Around 15 buildings in the area were also hit but did not say who carried out the strikes. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu blamed Russia for the strikes in Azaz, which is close to the Turkish border, claiming Moscow had targeted the complex with ballistic missiles fired from the Caspian Sea.
Images from the scene showed the hospital reduced to mostly twisted metal and other rubble. The dead consisted of five patients, a caretaker and a hospital guard, while eight staff members were missing. Patients were also missing, but their current numbers were unknown, said the statement. The organization had earlier given the number of dead as nine. Doctors Without Borders believed that the strike had been carried out by the Syrian government-led coalition, a spokeswoman told CNN. Syria’s government has not responded to the accusation. The statement said about 15 other houses and buildings in populated zones were hit in the area about the same time.
This appears to be a deliberate attack on a health structure, and we condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms said Massimiliano Rebaudengo, Doctors Without Borders’ head of 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,” he said.
The 30-bed hospital had 54 staff members, two operating areas, an outpatient department and an emergency room. The outpatient department treated around 1,500 patients a month, the emergency room carried out about 1,100 consultations a month, and around 140 operations were performed in the operating areas, the statement said. Airstrikes earlier this month killed three people and wounded at least six at a Doctors Without Borders-supported hospital in Daraa governorate, southern Syria, on February 5, the aid group said.
Another Doctors without Borders medical facility in Saada, northern Yemen, was hit by an airstrike on Oct. 26, the organization said. A Saudi-led coalition began launching strikes against Shiite rebels known as Houthis in March last year. The United States and Russia brokered a truce agreement in Munich, Germany on Friday for a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria’s nearly five-year-old civil war that could begin in less than a week. More than 250,000 people have died in the conflict. Western powers have also been critical of Russia’s actions in Syria, saying it was undermining the prospects of implementing a recently agreed upon cessation of hostilities by bombing civilians. Moscow denies the allegations.