Gaziantep, Turkey – The bombing of the MSF-supported Al Quds hospital in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Wednesday night has killed at least 14 people, including at least two doctors.
According to hospital staff on the ground, the hospital was destroyed by at least one airstrike which directly hit the building, reducing it to rubble. Other airstrikes in the neighbourhood also hit areas close to the hospital.
“MSF categorically condemns this outrageous targeting of yet another medical facility in Syria” said Muskilda Zancada, MSF head of mission, Syria. “This devastating attack has destroyed a vital hospital in Aleppo, and the main referral centre for paediatric care in the area. Where is the outrage among those with the power and obligation to stop this carnage?”
The situation in Aleppo city, consistently at the frontlines of the brutal conflict, was critical even before this attack. An estimated 250,000 people remain in the city, which has seen dramatic increases in levels of bombardments, fighting and fatalities in recent weeks. Only one road remains open in and out of the non- government held areas. If it gets cut off, the city will become besieged.
Over the last week, several other medical structures have been attacked and destroyed in Aleppo, and five rescue workers from the Syrian Civil Defence organisation have been killed.
MSF has been donating medical supplies to Al Quds hospital since 2012, and has built a very strong working relationship with the staff there.
“Compounding this tragedy is that the dedication and commitment of the staff of Al Quds, working under unimaginable conditions, has been unwavering throughout this bloody conflict,” said Zancada.
The 34-bed hospital offered services including an emergency room, obstetric care, an outpatients department, an inpatients department, an intensive care unit and an operating theatre. Eight doctors and 28 nurses worked full time in the hospital, which was the main referral centre for paediatrics in Aleppo.
MSF runs six medical facilities across northern Syria and supports more than 150 health centres and hospitals across the country, many of them in besieged areas. Several hospitals across north and south Syria have been bombed since the start of 2016, including seven supported by MSF - in which at least 42 people have been killed, including at least 16 medical staff.