18 killed in Syria hospital attacks
Published: 11:38 AM, 13 June 2021
The hospital has been put out of service after the attack
At least 18 people were killed when missiles have hit a hospital in the rebel-held city of Afrin in northern Syria, activists and an aid group said.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a doctor, three hospital staff, two women and two children died at al-Shifaa hospital, which is held by Turkish-backed rebels, on Saturday.
A rebel commander also died at the hospital, the observatory said, adding that 23 people were injured.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the shelling, which came from areas where government troops and Kurdish-led fighters are deployed. The governor office of Turkey’s Hatay’s province, across the border from Afrin, blamed the attack on Syrian Kurdish groups.
However, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) issued a statement denying any involvement in the shelling. In a tweet, its head Mazloum Abadi said, the US-backed SDF condemned the attack that targeted innocent lives, calling it a violation of international law.
The Syrian American Medical Society, or SAMS, an aid group that assists health centers in opposition areas, said al-Shifaa Hospital in the town of Afrin was targeted by two missiles. The attack destroyed the polyclinic department, the emergency and the delivery rooms, the group said.
After the attack, the hospital has been put out of service and patients were evacuated, it added.
The hospital is one of the largest facilities in northern Syria that offered thousands of medical services each month, including surgeries and maternity wards. The coordinates for the hospital, which is financed by USAID as well as UN funds, were shared as part of the UN-led deconfliction mechanism, the group said.
Turkey and allied Syrian fighters took control of Afrin in 2018 in a military operation that expelled local Kurdish fighters and displaced thousands of Kurdish residents. Ankara considers the Kurdish fighters who were in control of Afrin terrorists. Since then, there has been a series of attacks on Turkish targets in the area.