Schools, hospitals hit in Syrian missile attacks

By Sarah Harvey

A child is evacuated from the damaged hospital in Azaz. PHOTO: AFP
A child is evacuated from the damaged hospital in Azaz. PHOTO: AFP

The United Nations has condemned a missile attack on schools and hospitals in northern Syria which has killed up to 50 people.

“Such attacks are a blatant violation of international laws,” the UN said after the attack.

“Two of the strikes occurred at Azaz in Aleppo and another two in Idlib, where one of the hospitals was reportedly struck four times. In addition there are reports that two schools were attacked at Azaz reportedly killing six children.

“A third of hospitals and a quarter of schools in Syria – 5,000 – are no longer functioning.

“Apart from compelling considerations of diplomacy and obligations under International Humanitarian Law, let us remember that these victims are children.”

One of the raids was on a Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) clinic in Maarat al-Numan. The group, who also lost staff after an attack on a clinic in Afghanistan, said they believed the attack was deliberate.

MSF said one of its facilities had been struck by four missiles in the space of minutes. That lead them to believe it “wasn’t an accidental attack, that it was deliberate”.

It said seven people, including five patients, a caretaker and a hospital guard, had died with another eight staff members missing and presumed dead.

Activists have accused Russia of carrying out the attacks but Moscow has yet to respond.

Russia has been backing the Syrian government in its offensive against Islamic State rebels. It says it only targets what it calls “terrorists”.

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