ALEPPO, Syria, April 28 (UPI) — Doctors Without Borders said its hospital in the Syrian city of Aleppo was destroyed on Wednesday by an airstrike that killed at least 27 patients and doctors.
The organization — known officially as Médecins Sans Frontières or MSF — has sharply condemned the airstrike that local sources are blaming on Russia or the Syrian regime under President Bashar al-Assad. MSF warns the death toll is expected to rise.
“We are outraged at the destruction of Al-Quds hospital in Aleppo, Syria,” MSF said in a statement. “The destroyed MSF-supported hospital in Aleppo had an [emergency room], an [out-patient department], intensive care unit and an operating theater. All now destroyed.”
No official comment or claim of responsibility has been made over the bombing. One of the city’s last pediatricians was killed.
Recent hostilities in Syria have threatened a cease-fire established in February between the Assad regime and a consolidated group of rebel forces. The cease-fire does not include the Islamic State nor the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front.
The recent increase in violence has killed more than 100 civilians in the last week in bombardments by both rebels and forces loyal to Assad.
“We condemn the destruction of the Al-Quds hospital in Aleppo, depriving people of essential healthcare. Hospitals are not a target,” MSF said.
MSF hospitals have been subjected to airstrikes that have led to high-profile condemnation in the last year.
Two separate hospitals in Syria were struck in airstrikes in February, killing at least 12 people. In October, an MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, was destroyed by aU.S. airstrike that killed 42 people, including patients and medical staff. PresidentBarack Obama apologized for the errant strike but MSF has called for an independent international investigation.