Three rescued from rubble of destroyed MSF hospital in Syria

By Andrew V. Pestano   |   Feb. 17, 2016 at 8:14 AM
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ALEPPO, Syria, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Doctors Without Borders said three people were pulled alive from the rubble of a recently destroyed hospital it operates in Syria about 30 hours after it was hit by airstrikes.

The organization, known officially as Médecins Sans Frontières or MSF, accuses Russia of carrying out the airstrikes that killed at least seven people. On Monday, nearly 50 people died, including five MSF staff members, in missile attacks that hit four hospitals and two schools in the Aleppo and Idlib provinces.

The United Nations said the attacks were deliberate and could amount to war crimes. The MSF-operated hospital in the city of Maarat al-Numan in Syria's Idlib province was struck four times within minutes.

"Three people have been recovered -- wounded but alive. Rescue workers still looking through the rubble," MSF said in a statement. A graphic video of part of the rescue operation was posted on YouTube.

Russia on Tuesday denied it committed war crimes following Monday's bombings in areas of northern Syria held by rebels.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry has blamed Russia for the airstrikes. Dmitry Peskov, press spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the Kremlin "categorically rejects" the accusations, adding that "those who make such statements are not capable of backing them up with proof."

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said international officials meeting in Germany to work toward a cease-fire in Syria between the regime and rebels to end the five-year civil war reached an agreement toward halting hostilities. The agreement does not address ongoing fighting between government and coalition forces against terror groups, including the Islamic State and the al-Nusra Front.

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