Bombing of Aleppo hospitals a 'red line' say MSF

Bombing of Aleppo hospitals a 'red line' say MSF
Doctors Without Borders has condemned a lack of action by the international community in Syria, following the bombing of more Aleppo hospitals by suspected Russian war planes.
2 min read
28 September, 2016
MSF have had a number of their medical facilities bombed in Syria [AFP]

The international president of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has condemned the United Nations for failing to take action over hospital bombings in Syria.

Desperately needed health facilities had been "horrifically transformed" to places of death, Dr Joanne Liu told the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

The outcry comes after air raids targeted the two largest hospitals in rebel-held East Aleppo on Tuesday, further worsening the situation for civilians in Syria's besieged city.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the attacks constituted "war crimes".

"Imagine the destruction. People with limbs blown off. Children in terrible pain with no relief," he said. "Imagine a slaughterhouse. This is worse."


Addressing the council Liu said Resolution 2286, passed in May by members to protect civilians and medical services they need to survive, has "plainly failed to take any effect on the ground".

"This endeavor has failed due to a lack of political will - among member states fighting in coalitions, and those who enable them," she said.

"There can be no more waiting. Make your pledges operational." 

She said MSF alone has experienced horrific attacks on hospitals, including in Abs, Yemen in early August - the fourth such attack against the organisation's facilities in the country in less than a year, killing 32 people and injuring 51.

More strikes

In the same month, an MSF-supported hospital in Idlib, Syria was destroyed in repeated air strikes.

Four hospital staff and nine patients were killed. "And from one minute to the next, lifesaving assistance for 70 000 people was cut," Liu said.

"In Syria, the government and its allies relentlessly - deliberately - attack hospitals, doctors, first responders, and patients," Liu said.

"Doctors in Aleppo tell us that the remaining intensive care wards are completely full. People are being taken off life support so that the multitude of wounded can be treated.

"With the bombs continuing to fall, the doctors tell us they await their own deaths."

She rejected the culprit's excuse that the hospital bombings are a "mistake", adding: "There is a method in the madness."

In calling for those responsible to be investigated and held accountable, she told the council: "The impunity enjoyed by those who attack civilians and medical services must finally end.

"It will only end when sufficient political pressure and accountability are applied.

"Attacking hospitals and medical workers is a non-negotiable red line.

"Healthcare is the last line of humanity in an otherwise inhumane setting."