MSF: Rise in Syria airstrikes on hospitals

2015-10-29 20:40


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Beirut - There has been a rise in airstrikes targeting hospitals in Syria since late September, aid group Doctors without Borders (MSF) said, around the same time when Russia launched an aerial campaign in the war-torn country.

MSF said on Thursday at least 35 patients and medical workers have been killed over the past month in a "significant increase" in airstrikes on hospitals in Syria.

Russia launched airstrikes in Syria on September 30, saying it was asked by ally President Bashar Assad to help his forces against "terrorist" group such as the Islamic State organisation.

Moderate rebel groups and their US, Turkish and Gulf allies criticised the military intervention, saying Russian airstrikes were targeting Western-backed fighters seeking to topple Assad.

Twelve hospitals, including six supported by MSF, had been hit in Syria's northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib as well as in neighbouring Hama, according to the group.

"Six hospitals were forced to close and four ambulances destroyed," MSF said in a statement.

It added that the attacks had forced more people to flee their homes in northern Syria.

Around 1 700 families have joined an existing 110 000 internally displaced Syrians in four cluster camps spread around Atmeh, located in Idlib in northwestern Syria.

MSF warned that with the temperatures beginning to drop in the area as winter approaches, finding adequate shelter will be an urgent priority.

"Some of the displaced families are sharing tents while others are taking refuge in communal places such as mosques and schools," it said.

The report came as allies and opponents of Assad are to hold talks in Vienna on ending the war, in which more than 250 000 people were killed.

More than half of Syria's pre-war population of 22.4 million has been internally displaced or fled abroad.

Read more on:    msf  |  russia  |  syria

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