Syria: France condemns hospital bombing, says ‘attacks must stop immediately’

Jean-Marc Ayrault said Monday that attacks like these, in which six patients and a hospital employee were killed, are "unacceptable and must stop immediately."

By: AP | Published:February 16, 2016 8:23 am
Syria, Russia, Syria airstrikes, Syria hospitals, Syria bombing, Russia Syria, Syria airstrikes, Syria MSF Soldiers carry ammunition as Turkish artillery fire from the border near Kilis toward northern Syria, in Kilis, Turkey, Monday, Feb. 15, 2016. Turkey defied international calls and shelled parts of northern Syria for a third day today, insisting it would not allow Kurdish-led forces to seize key areas along the border. The cross-border Turkish artillery fire, which began on Saturday, has added to an increasingly complex situation in Syria’s northern Aleppo province just days before the ceasefire is due to begin.(AP Photo/Halit Onur Sandal)

France’s new foreign minister has issued a statement in which he has “firmly” condemned the bombing of a hospital in northern Syria run by Doctors Without Borders.

Jean-Marc Ayrault said Monday that attacks like these, in which six patients and a hospital employee were killed, are “unacceptable and must stop immediately.”

He said that they “could constitute war crimes.” Ayrault, who was given the post of foreign minister last week following the departure of Laurent Fabius, said that countries should work to guarantee the delivery of humanitarian assistance in all troubled areas of Syria.

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Turkey on Monday accused Russia of an “obvious war crime” after missile attacks in northern Syria killed scores of people, and warned Kurdish militia fighters there they would face the “harshest reaction” if they tried to capture a town near the Turkish border.

An offensive supported by Russian bombing and Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias has brought the Syrian army to within 25 km (15 miles) of Turkey’s frontier. The Kurdish YPG militia – which Turkey regards as a hostile insurgent force – has exploited the situation, seizing ground from Syrian rebels to extend its presence along the border.

Almost 50 civilians were killed when missiles hit at least five medical facilities and two schools in rebel-held areas of Syria on Monday, according to the United Nations, which called the attacks a blatant violation of international law.

At least 14 were killed in the northern town of Azaz, the last rebel stronghold before the border with Turkey, when missiles hit a children’s hospital and a school sheltering refugees, a medic and two residents said. Missiles also hit a hospital in the town of Marat Numan in the province of Idlib, south of Aleppo.

(With inputs from Reuters)