14 killed in hospital strike in Syria's Aleppo while UN's de Mistura urges to protect ceasefire
The Al Quds hospital in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo was bombed on Wednesday, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) said, adding that it supported the medical facility.
At least one airstrike hit the building directly, having completely destroyed it, MSF said citing hospital staff on the ground. At least 14 people were killed, including at least three doctors.
"MSF categorically condemns this outrageous targeting of yet another medical facility in Syria," MSF head of mission in the country Muskilda Zancada said, adding that "a vital hospital in Aleppo" which primarily treated children has been destroyed this time. Al Quds was "the main referral center for pediatric care in the area," she said.
Local opposition groups have blamed the Wednesday attack on Syrian or Russian forces, with western media having caught onto the allegations.
Russia's Defense Ministry has denied any involvement, saying its planes have not been carrying out any airstrikes in the area for several days now.
"According to our data, on the evening of April 27 in airspace above Aleppo a plane of one of the countries of the so-called anti-ISIL [Islamic State, IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] coalition was working in the area for the first time after a long break," the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Thursday.
US State Department has blamed the attack on Syrian government forces. "Once again we call on the regime to cease these absolutely senseless attacks," its spokesman John Kirby said, as quoted by Reuters.
Having condemned the recent spike in violence, the UN special envoy for the Syria crisis, Staffan de Mistura called on both Russia and the US to "protect" the peace process, saying there can be no military solution to the conflict and no “plan B.”
The international negotiations were "a small, but a very special miracle ... created by a high level discussion between the Russian Federation and the USA," de Mistura told RT in an exclusive interview.
De Mistura has warned of a "snowball effect" that the Aleppo hospital attack might cause, having called on all parties to avoid any "excessive response in case of an incident, that would then produce another excessive response."
Having pointed out that the cessation of hostilities in Syria was initiated by Russia and the US and "blessed" by the UN Security Council and other countries, the envoy said that thanks to these efforts ceasefire "lasted for almost 60 days... and casualties were close to zero."