France condemns bombing of MSF hospital in northern Syria

Still image taken from video shows heavy smoke rising from a location said to be a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) supported hospital in Marat al Numan, Idlib, Syria. (Reuters)

France condemned Monday the "deliberate" bombardment which killed at least seven people at a hospital in northern Syria supported by the aid charity MSF, saying such acts "constitute war crimes."

"I condemn in the strongest terms the latest deliberate bombardment targeting a hospital supported by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) in northern Syria," said French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in a statement.

"Attacks against health facilities in Syria by the regime or its supporters are unacceptable and must stop immediately. They constitute war crimes," he added.

Six patients and one staff member at the hospital died in two separate attacks on the same target, the statement said, adding that eight other staff members were still missing and there were tens of people injured.

MSF, which did not attribute blame, confirmed a hospital supported by the charity was hit in Idlib, and said seven people were killed and at least eight were missing, presumed dead.

British-based monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the building was destroyed by aircraft that were "presumably Russian".

The US State Department, meanwhile, condemned air strikes that hit two civilian hospitals "in and around Aleppo," identifying them as one run by MSF, the Women's and Children's Hospital in the city of Aziz.

But the Syrian ambassador to Moscow accused the United States of destroying the hospital. Riad Haddad, Syria's envoy to its ally Russia, told the state TV channel Rossiya 24 that the hospital in Idlib had been hit in a U.S. raid.

"American warplanes destroyed it. Russian warplanes had nothing to do with any of it -- the information that has been gathered will completely back that up," Haddad said.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:50 - GMT 06:50