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The New Arab Staff

Aid groups slam Syrian regime attack on medical centre

Shells landed at the entrance of the Atareb Surgical Hospital in Aleppi [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 March, 2021

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The International Rescue Committee has urged the United Nations to strengthen accountability for violations of international law.

Aid groups have slammed a Syrian regime attack on a hospital in northern Syria on Sunday in which seven civilians and injured 15 others.

A child was among those killed at the Atareb Surgical Hospital in Aleppo, while at least seven medical staff were among the injured, according to the Syrian Civil Defence, or White Helmets volunteer group.
"With absolutely no regard to humanitarian laws, the targeting comes at a time when northern Syria suffers a significant shortage of medical personnel and facilities, as a result of the previous military campaigns, and amid continuous suffering due to the Covid pandemic," The White Helmets said in an emailed statement on Monday. 
"This attack is a continuation of the regime and Russia's systematic targeting of medical facilities and hospitals, which has directly caused civilians to be deprived of essential and life-saving services."

The group said it has responded to more than 63 Syrian regime and allied Russian attacks on hospitals and medical facilities since 2019.

Sunday's attack was also condemned by the International Rescue Committee which said that facilities it supports in Syria have been attacked at least 24 times since 2018.

"The IRC is calling on the United Nations and world leaders to strengthen accountability for violations of international law so that they no longer continue with impunity and so that people in Syria can safely access the health care they need," the IRC said in a statement.

Shells landed at the entrance and in the courtyard of the hospital in Atareb, a town in rural western Aleppo, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The hospital is located underground, a tactic used by the opposition to avoid targeting in the conflict-prone area.

A video posted on the local health directorate's Facebook page showed debris and bloodstains at the entrance of the hospital.

Syria's war broke out in 2011, after President Bashar al-Assad's regime cracked down on peaceful protests. The country's war has killed more than 388,000 people and displaced millions of Syrians inside the country and abroad.

Backed by Russia and Iran, President Bashar al-Assad is back in control of more than 60 percent of the country after a string of victories against opposition forces.

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