Two hospitals bombed in Syria, 19 killed; Russia blamed

At least 19 people were reported killed and dozens of others injured in air strikes and rocket attacks on two separate hospitals in northern Syria Monday.

At least ten people were killed and 30 injured when air strikes and rocket artillery damaged parts of a hospital in the town of Azaz in Aleppo province, the rebel-controlled Aleppo local council said on Monday.

The head of the council's media office, Abu Thaer al-Halabi, told Al Jazeera that a section of a highway that facilitates the main supply line for humanitarian aid to the region was also destroyed in the raids.

Halabi added that he believed the strikes were carried out by Russian fighter jets.

Hospital targeted in Idlib

Meanwhile, suspected Russian air strikes also targeted a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the town of Maaret al-Numan in Idlib province. At least nine people were killed, including a child, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

"A building that housed a hospital supported by MSF was destroyed on Monday by aircraft, presumably Russian," said the British-based monitor.

A spokesman for the Syria Civil Defense in Idlib confirmed that the hospital was hit but had a lower death count.

"At least four people have been killed while several others have been injured. We expect the death toll to rise," he said – identifying himself only as Radi.

At least 13 people were reportedly injured in the air strikes, and rescue workers dug through rubble in an attempt to reach several people buried underneath.

"Extreme damage has been caused to the hospital. Six floors have been almost reduced to rubble. This hospital is located in an area previously surrounded by restaurants and has no rebel strongholds. It has been functioning for over a year now," Radi said.

'A deliberate attack on a health structure'

MSF condemned the attack in a report released on Monday. While it did not give a death toll, it said at least eight members of staff were missing after four rockets hit the 30-bed facility, which had 54 staff, two operating theaters, an outpatients' department and an emergency room.

"This appears to be a deliberate attack on a health structure, and we condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms," said Massimiliano Rebaudengo, MSF’s 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," Massimiliano said.

MSF supports around 150 hospitals in Syria.

Russian warplanes have conducted air strikes in Syria since September 30 in support of President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

The Observatory said that it determines whether strikes were carried out by Syrian, Russian or US-led coalition aircraft based on the location of the raids, flight patterns and the types of planes involved.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/208059

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