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Syria monitor: 'Russian air strike hits hospital'

October 22, 2015

Thirteen people including medical staff have been killed when an alleged Russian air strike hit a hospital in Syria, a monitoring group claims. A medical charity says two of its staff were killed in the bombardment.

Symbolbild Russland Syrien Luftschläge
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Y.Kochetkov

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Wednesday that "Russian airstrikes" had hit a field hospital in Sarmin in the northwestern Idlib Province, killing more than a dozen people including medical staff.

"Thirteen people were killed in Russian air strikes on Tuesday on a field clinic in the town of Sarmin, including a physiotherapist, a guard, and civil defense member," the UK-based monitoring group's Rami Abdel Rahman told the AFP news agency.

The Syrian-Medical Society (SAMS) posted a picture on its Twitter account purporting to be its damaged clinic though there was no independent confirmation of the image's authenticity.

The medical charity said that the facility was hit at around 1 p.m. local time (1000 UTC) and that two of its staff members had been killed. It did not specify who was responsible.

Russia's defense ministry confirmed Wednesday that its armed forces had targeted Sarmin, but did not mention a hospital. Moscow has launched more than 500 attacks against enemies of Syrian President Bashar Assad, including fighters from the so-called Islamic State.

SAMS accused Russia of targeting two hospitals in southern Aleppo on Monday, forcing them to evacuate patients and close down.

"SAMS adds its voice to the calls of medical personnel on the ground urging the Russians to end the targeting of medical facilities and civilians," a statement from the foundation said at the time.

SAMS is a nonprofit humanitarian organization that was founded in 2007. Its volunteer doctors provide medical care in Syria, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has been highly critical of Russia's military intervention in Syria and said field hospitals in Latakia and Hama had been bombed earlier this month.

On Tuesday the group said Russian air strikes were responsible for at least 127 civilian deaths out of at least 370 people killed overall since Moscow's aerial campaign began last month.

jar/bw (dpa, AFP)