Missiles Hit Syrian Hospitals, Killing 23—But Was It Russia?
Doctors Without Borders says it's either Russia or Syria
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2016 2:00 PM CST
This image taken from video provided by the Syrian activist-based media group Azaz Media Center, which has-been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows people gathered around destroyed...   (Azaz Media Center,via AP Video)
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(Newser) – Rebel-held Syrian towns took missile fire Monday and saw at least 23 civilians die in a school and three hospitals—blood that some say is on Russia's hands, Reuters reports. Azaz, a town near Turkey, took the brunt when airstrikes killed 14 at a children's hospital and a shelter inside a school, local sources say. "We have been moving scores of screaming children from the hospital," says a medic who found two children among the dead. In the north-western town of Marat Numan, Idlib province, seven others died when missiles struck a hospital backed by Doctors Without Borders. "The destruction of the hospital leaves the local population of about 40,000 people without access to medical services in an active zone of conflict," Massimiliano Rebaudengo, the head of Doctors Without Borders in Syria, tells the Guardian.

Two nurses also died when missiles hit a hospital on the north end of Marat Numan. So who's to blame? "The author of the strike is clearly ... either the government or Russia," says Mego Terzian, president of Doctors Without Borders in France, of the main Marat Numan attack. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu identified the Azaz missiles as Russian, the BBC reports. But Russia denies killing civilians in its support of the Assad regime, saying it only targets "terrorist groups." Meanwhile, Russia's anti-rebel air assaults are aiding Assad's attempt to take Aleppo—the biggest city in Syria—while civilian casualties mount. "Every day, hundreds of Syrians die from airstrikes and artillery bombardment, poison gas, cluster bombs, torture, starvation, cold and drowning," says Riad Hijab, lead negotiator for the Syrian opposition.