Syrians awoke to air strikes and bomb blasts late last night after the tenuous cease-fire talks between the United States, Russia, and the Assad regime fell apart in Geneva, Switzerland. The latest round of violence broke out in Aleppo as a new wave of shelling and airstrikes leveled a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders and devastated several civilian neighborhoods.
More than 60 people have died in Aleppo, Syria, in the last 24 hours as a result of the Assad regime’s latest attack on the city’s civilian population. At least 27 of those were killed when an Assad warplane bombed a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, completely destroying the facility.
“We are outraged at the destruction of the AL Quds hospital,” Doctors Without Borders said in a statement this morning.
The Aleppo hospital was completely destroyed, according to accounts from one witness, reported NPR. The hospital was hit by an airstrike late last night, causing outrage among the international community who claim the hospital was well known to all sides of the conflict in Syria. By the most recent count, the airstrike killed at least three doctors working with Doctors Without Borders and 14 patients. However, the shelling and airstrikes continue, and that number could rise as rescue crews sort through the rubble.
“This devastating attack has destroyed a vital hospital in Aleppo. Where is the outrage among those with power and obligation to stop this carnage?” said Muskilda Zancada, the head of Doctors Without Borders’ in Syria.
According to the New York Daily News, the cease-fire in Syria has broken down in recent days as all sides of the conflict have failed to reach an agreement regarding the fraught Syrian civil war that tore apart rebel-held Aleppo this morning.
According to Doctors Without Borders, the Aleppo hospital was hit directly and purposely by an airstrike. The hospital was in a rebel-held area of Aleppo.
“Whoever carries out these massacres needs a war tribunal and a court of justice to be tried for his crimes. He does not need a negotiating table,” said Mohammed Alloush, the chief negotiator for the Syrian opposition.
The United Nations decried the most recent wave of airstrikes and shelling attacks in Aleppo, Syria, calling the situation a disaster, and a U.N. negotiator said the cease-fire talks “hang by a thread” as of Thursday morning. Jan Egeland, an advisor to the U.N. envoy on Syria, said the situation has been subject to a “catastrophic deterioration” in recent days. Since April 19, over 200 people have been killed in airstrikes and bombings throughout Syria.
Civilians in Aleppo reportedly fear for their lives as violence escalates in the Syrian city. The Syrian rebel forces, in response to the deadly airstrikes this morning, have reportedly fired more than one thousand rockets and mortars at Assad-held regions of the city, and civilians are caught in the crossfire. The Los Angeles Times reports that civilians living in Aleppo worry that their city will become the focus of the next phase of the protracted Syrian civil war.
According to rebel leaders on the ground, Assad forces have been rallying in recent days, mobilizing for what could be an all-out attack on rebel-held areas of Aleppo. The Syrian Civil Defense, a volunteer group of aid workers, have been working non-stop since late last night, digging through the destroyed Doctors Without Borders hospital, the devastated Aleppo neighborhoods, and the rubble-strewn streets, desperately searching for survivors.
The body count continues to rise as the day goes on, and Syrian Civil Defense volunteers have thus far identified an additional four Doctors Without Borders hospital staff killed in the attack, bringing the death toll ever higher.
[Photo by UGC via AP video]