Security footage obtained by Britain’s Channel 4 shows a pediatric hospital in Aleppo in the moments before — and after — it was hit by a missile from a fighter jet last week.
The Al Quds field hospital was located in a rebel-held neighborhood in Aleppo and, at 9.38 pm — the security camera’s timer is an hour out — there is a thump as a bomb explodes nearby. It is unheard on the silent tape, but the hospital staff react. Some rush downstairs, anticipating casualties.
The footage shows a doctor, Mohammed Maaz, who is the last pediatrician in Aleppo, leaving the intensive care unit and walking the corridors of the ill-fated hospital.
He disappears offscreen. Minutes later — at 9.42 pm — the hospital is hit. After the chaos of the explosion, as the dust settles, stark, ghostly images of survivors evacuating the building: a nurse carrying a young child from the maternity ward; civilians performing first aid.
Maaz does not reappear — he was killed in the strike, along with dozens of others. At least 50 people died in total — patients, visitors, staff, according to Pablo Marco, operations manager for Doctors Without Borders in the Middle East.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the attack and pointed a finger of blame at the Syrian government.
“We are outraged by yesterday’s airstrikes in Aleppo on the al Quds hospital supported by both Doctors Without Borders and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which killed dozens of people, including children, patients and medical personnel,” he said in a statement.
Kerry is currently in Geneva for talks with other world leaders in an attempt to try to save the crumbling Syrian peace process.
Since then, a further three medical facilities, including two more hospitals in the city have been hit, Channel 4 reports. The United Nations warns that the situation in Aleppo has become “catastrophic” amid intensified fighting in recent days.
U.N. special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, told reporters in Geneva last week that, as the ceasefire looks increasingly tenuous, a humanitarian disaster is unfolding as violence increases in Aleppo and three other locations.
Last year, a U.S. airstrike hit a Doctors Without Borders — also known by its French acronym MSF — hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz, killing 12 staffers and ten patients — including three children — and injuring 37 others, the charity said. The Pentagon said late last month that the bombing was not a ‘war crime.’
Earlier this year a MSF hospital in Yemen was also hit by a “projectile.” Five people were killed and 10 others were injured in that attack. The origin of the attack could not be confirmed at the time.
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