Medical charity slams international 'silence' after regime Syrian airstrike on children's hospital
The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM), a charity founded by Syrian-American doctors, has expressed outrage following a Syrian regime airstrike on a children’s hospital in southern Idlib province.
The UOSSM said that the Al-Ghadafa Pediatric and Gynecology Hospital in Maarat al-Numan was hit by four airstrikes on Tuesday at 10:35 pm local time.
The hospital had been evacuated earlier in the day, however a watchman present at the scene was wounded.
Dr Khaula Sawah, the Vice-President of UOSSM USA said: "It is outrageous that another paediatric hospital was bombed with complete impunity and a deafening silence from the international community."
“Had the hospital not been evacuated, we could have had a major tragedy yet again… We will repeat this, hospitals are not a target, civilians are not a target, schools are not a target. These are all war crimes and the perpetrators must be stopped and held accountable,” she added.
This is not the first time a children’s hospital has been targeted in Syria. In February 2016, at least 14 people were killed when Russian airstrikes hit a paediatric hospital in Azaz in the country's north.
According to UOSSM, this is the 48th hospital to be bombed in Idlib province since the beginning of a regime assault on the rebel-held area in April 2019.
Syrian hospitals had previously shared their locations with the UN in the hope of keeping themselves safe from airstrikes but the information appears to have been used to target them.
Further airstrikes on Maarat al-Numan killed 13 civilians, including several children on Wednesday. The UN has expressed concern over the situation in the area and said that several towns and villages had been razed to the ground in the ongoing regime assault.
A total of 1248 people have been killed in Idlib province since the beginning of the regime assault, according to the Syrian First Responders Team. More than 450,000 people have been displaced, including much of the population of Maarat al-Numan and the surrounding area.