27 killed after hospital in rebel-held Syria hit by airstrikes

A family walk through the rubble in Aleppo after airstrikes yesterday. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
A family walk through the rubble in Aleppo after airstrikes yesterday. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
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A wave of night-time airstrikes have hit a hospital in Syria supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in the rebel-held part of of Aleppo, killing at least 27 people.

Six hospital staff and three children were also among the casualties. The strikes, shortly before midnight on Wednesday, hit the well-known al-Quds field hospital in the rebel-held district of Sukkari in Aleppo, according to opposition activists and rescue workers.

The chief Syrian opposition negotiator Mohammed Alloush blamed the government of president Bashar al-Assad for the deadly airstrikes. He said that the latest violence by government forces shows “the environment is not conducive to any political action.”

The Civil Defense, a volunteer first-responders agency whose members went to the scene of the attack, put the death toll at 30 and said the dead included six hospital staff. Among those slain was one of the last pediatricians remaining in opposition-held areas of the contested city and a dentist. Known as the White Helmets, the agency said the al-Quds hospital and adjacent buildings were struck in four consecutive airstrikes. It said there were still victims buried under the rubble and rescue work continued yesterday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 27 were killed, including three children.

MSF said in a series of tweets that at least 14 patients and staff were among those killed, with the toll expected to rise.

“Destroyed MSF-supported hospital in Aleppo was well known locally and hit by direct airstrike on Wednesday,” it said.

A video posted online showed a number of lifeless bodies being pulled out from a building and loaded into ambulances. It also showed rescue workers trying to keep onlookers away from the scene, apparently fearing more airstrikes.

Mr Alloush, who was one of the leading negotiators of the opposition in the Geneva talks, described the airstrikes as one of the latest “war crimes” of Assad’s government.

“Whoever carries out these massacres needs a war tribunal and a court of justice to be tried for his crimes.”