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Syria: Two killed in attack on MSF-supported hospital in Hama
A hospital in northern Syria supported by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) was hit in an aerial attack on 25 March.
At around 6 pm, Latamneh hospital in northern Hama governorate was targeted by a bomb dropped by a helicopter, which hit the entrance of the building. Information collected by the hospital medical staff suggests that chemical weapons were used.
Burning mucous membranes
Immediately after the impact, patients and staff reported suffering severe respiratory symptoms and burning of mucous membranes – symptoms consistent with an attack using chemicals.
“Bombing hospitals, although banned by international humanitarian law, remains common practice in Syria, and health services are severely affected by these repeated attacks."
Two people died as a result of the attack, including Dr Darwish, the hospital’s orthopaedic surgeon. Thirteen people were transferred for treatment to other facilities.
Out of service
“The loss of Dr Darwish leaves just two orthopaedic surgeons for a population of around 120,000,” says Massimiliano Rebaudengo, MSF’s head of mission in northern Syria.
Following the attack, the hospital went out of service for three days, after which the emergency room reopened.
40,000 people have fled their homes
“Bombing hospitals, although banned by international humanitarian law, remains common practice in Syria, and health services are severely affected by these repeated attacks,” says Rebaudengo.
Despite a new round of peace talks between warring parties, which began in January, increased fighting is taking place on several fronts. In northern Hama governorate, 40,000 people have recently fled their homes due to the fighting.
MSF in Syria
Over the past year, MSF has received reports of at least 71 attacks on at least 32 different health facilities which it runs or supports in Syria. As recently as 22 February, an MSF-supported health facility in Idlib governorate was hit by rockets, killing six and wounding 33.
MSF directly operates four health facilities in northern Syria and provides support to more than 150 health facilities countrywide.