Air strikes target medical facility in Syria

Two killed, six injured in air strikes on medical facility near Syrian capital of Damascus

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Residents inspect bodies at a site damaged by what activists said was an air strike by forces loyal to Syria's regime leader Bashar al Assad in the main field hospital in the town of Douma, eastern Ghouta in Damascus

Updated Nov 26, 2015

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Saturday in a statement that an air strike targeted a hospital supported by MSF in the rebel-held town of Erbin in eastern Ghouta near the Syrian capital of Damascus on November 19.

"At 2:30pm local time on Thursday 19 November, an aerial attack was launched on Erbin," the statement reads.

"Half an hour later, at approximately 3:00pm, when seven wounded were arriving for urgent war-wound treatment, two missiles exploded just outside the entrance of the Médecins Sans Frontières [MSF]-supported makeshift hospital in the area" it continues.

MSF reported that two people were killed during the raid, and at least six people were wounded including medical staff.

"We were just starting to treat the first influx of wounded when suddenly other missiles hit in front of the hospital. It took us a moment to realize that two of our colleagues who had been assisting the wounded at the entrance were severely injured. A dramatic situation suddenly became doubly dramatic," the director of the targeted hospital said on condition of anonymity.

The non-governmental organisation MSF operates six medical facilities in the north of Syria. More than 100 health posts, field hospitals and makeshifts have been supported directly by MSF with material support and distance training throughout the country.

Three weeks ago, MSF said that at least 12 medical facilities had been hit by air strikes in Syria recently, killing at least 35 patients and medical staff.

It is still unknown who is responsible for the air strikes targeting the hospitals. Russian, US-led coalition, and regime jets are all carrying out air strikes in Syria.

Last month, the US hit the MSF hospital in Afghanistan, Kunduz with an air strike, killing 30 people. The US said targeting the hospital was a mistake, which MSF stated was "hard to believe." 

Russian aerial campaign in Syria

On September, 30 Russia started an aerial campaign from two Syrian bases - Tartus and Latakia - in support of the Syrian regime and its long-term ally, Bashar al Assad, targeting Assad's opponents.

Since the Russian air strikes started, around 526 people have been killed by them, including 137 children, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), a monitoring group.

At least 42,234 air strikes targeted rebel-held farms, villages, towns and cities, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said.

Due to the Russian air strikes, at least 100,000 people fled from Aleppo.

Another 1,000 fled an internal camp for displaced Syrians in Atma, in the city of Idlib's suburbs near the Syrian-Turkish border.

US, Russian aerial operations against DAESH

On Thursday, Russian jets hit DAESH-held areas in Raqqa and Deirz Zor in an operation day targeting oil refineries which are under the control of the terror group.

The war in Syria started in 2011 as unrest descended into a civil war.

The Russian escalation comes after DAESH claimed responsibility for downing a Russian plan in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula last month, killing all 224 people on board.

US-led coalition began launching air strikes Syria and Iraq in September, 2014 to fight DAESH in both countries.

DAESH, which announced the formation of a self-proclaimed caliphate in 2014 with the Syrian city of Raqqa as its capital, currently holds control over large swaths of territory stretching eastward from the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, to western Iraq.French-Russian cooperation against DAESH

The chief of the Russian military's General Staff, General Valery Gerasimov, discussed cooperation in the fight against DAESH on Thursday with his French counterpart in a phone call.

The talk between the two men comes after Russian president ordered the Russian military to cooperate with the French "like with allies."

The Russian-French cooperation comes after Paris attacks in which 127 people were killed and the Russian plane in Egypt was downed. DAESH has claimed responsibility for both terror attacks.

French President Francois Hollande will also visit Washington and Moscow next week for talks over US, Russian and French cooperation in the fight against DAESH.

This year alone Europe is facing an inflow of 1 million asylum-seekers from the Middle East and Africa mainly due to the ongoing Syrian conflict.

The four-and-a-half-year-long civil war in Syria has led to the deaths of an estimated 350,000 people and displaced around half the country’s population.

TRTWorld and agencies