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Syria hospital attacks are 'war crimes': Ban Ki-moon

UNICEF also said that at least 96 children have been killed and 223 wounded in the rebel-held sections of Aleppo

AFP/PTI  |  United Nations 

United Nations, Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Photo: PTI

UN Secretary-General condemned the attacks today on the two largest hospitals in rebel-held parts of Syria's as "war crimes."

"Let us be clear. Those using ever more destructive weapons know exactly what they are doing. They know they are committing war crimes," Ban told the Security Council.

"Imagine the destruction. People with limbs blown off. Children in terrible pain with no relief," he said. "Imagine a slaughterhouse. This is worse."

The two biggest hospitals in rebel-controlled parts of have been bombed in what non-governmental organisations and residents say are deliberate attacks by the Syrian regime and its Russian allies to eliminate these structures.

In a statement, said at least 96 children have been killed and 223 wounded in the rebel-held sections of the city since Friday. It said the health system was crumbling with only 30 doctors left to treat the wounded.

"The children of are trapped in a living nightmare," said Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth. "There are no words left to describe the suffering they are experiencing."

In May, the adopted a resolution on the protection of health workers and facilities during armed conflicts, but there has been no letup in these kinds of attacks in Syria and

"law is clear: medical workers, facilities and transport must be protected. The wounded and sick -- civilians and fighters alike -- must be spared," Ban said.

"Deliberate attacks on hospitals are war crimes. Denying people access to essential health care violates humanitarian law."

He addressed ambassadors from the 15 members in a meeting focused on medical aid to civilians in conflicts.

He reminded them of a series of recommendations that have been made to prevent and stop attacks on medical facilities and for impartial and systematic investigations of any incidents that arise.

Ban cited statistics gathered by Physicians for that show that 95 per cent of the medical personnel who were in Aleppo before the war "have fled, been detained, or killed."

"There must be action. There must be accountability," he said.

Joanne Liu, president of Doctors Without Borders, asked Ban to name a special representative with a mandate to document and report on attacks on medical facilities, health workers and patients, stressing "impunity must end.

First Published: Thu, September 29 2016. 00:22 IST