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Airstrikes Hit 2 Hospitals In Syria, Killing At Least 50

A hospital in Idlib province was destroyed Monday in what Massimiliano Rebaudengo, MSF's head of mission in Syria, calls "a deliberate attack on a health structure."
Doctors Without Borders
A hospital in Idlib province was destroyed Monday in what Massimiliano Rebaudengo, MSF's head of mission in Syria, calls "a deliberate attack on a health structure."

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

Attacks hit two hospitals in northwest Syria Monday morning, killing at least 50 people and leaving tens of thousands of residents without medical care. The hospitals are about 75 miles apart; one of them is supported by Doctors Without Borders — also known as MSF.

"This appears to be a deliberate attack on a health structure, and we condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms," said Massimiliano Rebaudengo, MSF's head of mission in Syria. The group says at least seven people were killed in the attack on its hospital.

In a separate attack in the town of Azaz -– less than five miles from the Turkish border in Aleppo province — a missile hit a children's hospital and killed at least five people, the AP reports. The news agency adds that in a nearby village, "an air raid hit a school, killing seven and wounding others."

In Azaz, residents and a medic tell Reuters, "at least five missiles hit the hospital in the town center and a nearby school, where refugees fleeing a major Syrian army offensive were sheltering."

Farther south, an attack in Syria's Idlib province demolished a MSF-supported hospital, with a series of strikes coming in quick succession, the international aid group says.

Eight staff members are currently listed as missing at the hospital, which MSF says provided 30 beds and two operating rooms, along with an emergency room. MSF had been paying the costs of running the hospital since last September.

Discussing the strike, Massimiliano said, "The destruction of the hospital leaves the local population of around 40,000 people without access to medical services in an active zone of conflict."

Both Russia and Turkey have been bombarding parts of northern Syria — despite the announcement of a cease-fire plan late last week.

Over the weekend, "Turkish forces shelled Kurdish positions in northern Syria — targeting Kurdish fighters who are seen as allies by the United States," as Camila reported for the Two-Way.

And Russia has bombed rebels in the same area, trying to support Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Turkey will not allow the Azaz district to fall under Kurdish control in northern Syria, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says, according to the country's Anadolu news agency.

Russia says it will continue to conduct airstrikes in Syria "even if the Syrian ceasefire agreement is reached," deputy foreign minister Gennady Gatilov says, according to the TASS news agency.

Gatilov also dismissed accusations of Russia targeting groups other than ISIS in Syria, saying, "As for the allegations suggesting that we deliver airstrikes on targets other than IS, there is no evidence confirming this."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

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