Spain condemns Syrian hospital bombings as ‘war crimes’

By Alyssa McMurtry

MADRID (AA) – The Spanish government on Friday condemned the recent bombings of Syrian hospitals, saying Spain considers this type of action to be a “war crime”.

“The Spanish government is issuing a reminder that, in line with international humanitarian law, deliberate attacks in a war against hospitals, other health installations, or against medical personnel… constitute a war crime for which those responsible must be brought to justice,” said a Spanish Foreign Ministry statement.

The statement said Spain received the news of recent bombings of hospitals in Aleppo and the rest of Syria with “dismay”.

On Wednesday an airstrike on a hospital in Aleppo, supported by Doctors Without Borders — Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), killed at least 27, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

On Thursday, Jan Egeland, chairman of the UN’s humanitarian task force, told reporters that there has been a “catastrophic deterioration” in Aleppo over the past few days.

“So many humanitarian health workers and relief workers are being bombed, killed, maimed at the moment, that the whole lifeline to millions of people is now also at stake,” said Egeland.

“What we basically see is that while people are bleeding, the health workers are unable to do their work because they cannot do their work and because they are attacked,” he said.

Syria and Russia have both denied their warplanes targeted the hospital. However, Anas al-Abdeh, head of the Syrian National Coalition, told the Associated Press that Syria and Russia are responsible for the violence.

The U.S. State Department said Thursday that it has “every indication” Syria was responsible for the bombings. Secretary of State John Kerry has urged Assad’s ally Russia to press the government to observe the cessation of hostilities and stop attacking civilians.

Spain is also insisting that all parties respect the cease-fire, which took effect on February 27.

The Syrian government considers hospitals in opposition-held territory to be legitimate military targets because they are de facto illegal, according to Britain’s The Guardian.

MSF said in February that hospitals not under government control were refusing to share their GPS coordinates with Russian or Syrian authorities because doing so increases chances of direct targeting.

Since April 19, Russia and the Syrian regime have intensified their attacks on civilians in Aleppo’s opposition-controlled areas, leaving at least 170 dead and more than 200 injured.

According to a tally compiled by Anadolu Agency, more than 361,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict erupted in 2011.