Airstrikes on hospital kill 27 in Aleppo; Syrian truce hangs by a thread

(From Reuters)

Even as 27 people were killed in airstrikes on a hospital in a rebel-held area in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, the United Nations mediator on Thursday called on the leaders of the United States and the Russian Federation to salvage the “barely alive” two-month-old ceasefire and revitalize the damaged peace process.

Civil Defence members search for survivors after an airstrike at a field hospital in the rebel held area of al-Sukari district of Aleppo

Civil defense members search for survivors after airstrikes at a field hospital in the rebel-held area of al-Sukari district of Aleppo late Wednesday

Airstrikes that hit the hospital killed at least 27 people, including three children and the city’s last pediatrician, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday.

The al-Quds hospital was supported by international medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which said it was destroyed after being hit by a direct air strike that killed at least three doctors.

The head of a rescue service put the death toll at 50, saying most of the dead were in a building next door.

Aleppo has been the center of a military escalation that has helped to undermine U.N.-led peace talks in recent weeks.

The identity of the warplanes that carried out the strikes was not immediately known.

Staffan de Mistura

Staffan de Mistura

Even as the Syrian ceasefire was hanging by a thread, U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura voiced deep concern at the situation in Aleppo and three other hot spots.

“Hence my appeal for a U.S.-Russian urgent initiative at the highest level, because the legacy of both President Obama and President Putin is linked to the success of what has been a unique initiative which started very well. It needs to end very well,” de Mistura told a news conference.

The United States and Russia must convene a ministerial meeting of major and regional powers who compose the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), he said.

“There is no reason that both of them which have been putting so much political capital in that success story and have a common interest in not seeing Syria ending up in another cycle of war should not be able to revitalize what they have created and which is still alive but barely.”



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