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Hospitals and schools are being targeted in Syria in breach of international regulations

16 February 2016
Syrian flag
Air raids on five hospitals and two schools, on Monday, February 15th, in separate locations in northern Syria killed at least 50 people and left dozens others wounded. Five patients, a caretaker and a hospital guard are among the casualties in a hospital supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the attacks in Aleppo and Idlib provinces on Monday, 15 February "blatant violations of international laws" that "are further degrading an already devastated health care system and preventing access to education in Syria".

PSI General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli says in her turn, "it is appalling that in the game for a new geopolitical order civilians are the victims" adding that, “it is, particularly unacceptable and in breach of international regulations that hospitals are targeted”.

Among the five hospitals hit by missiles, the one in Maarat al-Numan in Idlib province is supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

According to Massimiliano Rebaudengo, MSF’s Head of Mission, missiles struck the hospital four times within minutes, killing at least five patients, a caretaker and a hospital guard, while eight staff members are missing.

"This appears to be a deliberate attack on a health structure […] 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," Rebaudengo said.

“Once again doctors, nurses and workers in the health sector as well as teachers are the unsung heroes who often pay with their lives the mission to defend human rights in an inhumane environment”, says Pavanelli.

MSF also reminded that earlier this month airstrikes killed three people and wounded six at another Médecins Sans Frontières-supported hospital in Daraa, southern Syria, on February 5th.

In the town of Azaz in Aleppo province, another hospital was damaged when air strikes and rocket artillery killed at least another 14 people. In the same raid, a school where refugees were sheltering was also hit.

"It cannot be by coincidence that so many hospitals are under attack, but whatever is the reason for those attacks it is unacceptable, illegal and criminal and must be stopped", states Pavanelli.

Far from admitting their responsibility, Syrian, Russian and USA forces are blaming each other for the attacks on hospitals. The involvement of Turkey is igniting the theatre even more. The fact is that the war on ISIS is becoming the war for a new leadership in the Middle East and, broadly, at a global level.

"We are on the verge of a global war that the world leaders are trying to hide, but it is already visible in the terrible suffering of millions of civilians", concludes the PSI General Secretary.

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