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MSF Condemns 'Deliberate' Attack After Two Hospitals Bombed in Syria

Reports from the ground indicate Russia or Syrian government was responsible for the bombing

Rescuers search for survivors after airstrikes hit an MSF-supported hospital in northern Syria. (Photo: MSF)

Airstrikes have reportedly hit two hospitals in northern Syria, including a children's facility and a clinic supported by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

MSF said at least seven patients and staff were killed and eight staff members were missing after a clinic it supports in Maaret al-Numan, Idlib province was hit four times in two raids. According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, nine people were killed, including a child.

"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.

While MSF did not blame any side in the conflict for the bombing in Maaret al-Numan, the medical charity said there has been "unrelenting aerial bombardment by Russian warplanes and Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Idlib," according to the Guardian.

Mego Terzian, president of MSF France, told Reuters, "There were at least seven deaths among the personnel and the patients, and at least eight MSF personnel have disappeared, and we don't know if they are alive."

"The author of the strike is clearly ... either the government or Russia," Terzian said.

Elsewhere, Syrian opposition activists said a missile had hit a children's hospital in the rebel-held town of Azaz, killing at least 10 and wounding more than 30.

The strikes come just days after world powers agreed to a "cessation of hostilities" in Syria, to begin later this week.

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