A deadly missile attack targets Syrian hospital Afrin News from Bashar al-Assad

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The bombing, in an area controlled by Turkish-backed fighters, killed at least 13 people and injured 27.

At least 13 people, including two medical staff members, have been killed and several wounded in two separate artillery attacks in the northern Syrian city of Afrin, controlled by fighters, activists and a Turkish-backed aid group. .

The first attack affected a residential area, while the second attacked a hospital shortly afterwards, civil defense sources told Reuters news agency. Video footage on social media showed the victims amid the ruins of al-Shifa Hospital, which fell out of service after the attack.

It was not immediately known who was behind the bombing, which reportedly came from areas where Syrian government troops and Kurdish-led fighters are deployed.

The governor of the Turkish province of Hatay, on the other side of the Afrin border, and Turkey’s defense ministry also said the attack killed 13 civilians and wounded 27, adding that it was rocket bombing and hospital artillery. The governor’s office blamed the attack on Syrian Kurdish groups.

Members of the Syrian Civil Defense (White Helmets) are digging up the ruins of al-Shifa hospital after the bombing of the rebel-held city of Afrin in northern Syria. [Bakr Al-Kasem/AFP]

Ankara condemned the attack, saying it was launched by the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which form the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The SDF said it was not behind the attacks.

Ankara considers the YPG a “terrorist” group linked to the Kurdish separatist group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), in Turkey. The PKK is designated a “terrorist group” by the United States and the European Union.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 18. Al Jazeera was unable to verify the conflicting figures.

“The bombing targeted several areas of the city and affected the hospital,” AFP news agency director Rami Abdurrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory, said.

The artillery fire originated in the northern province of Aleppo, “where militias loyal to Iran and the [Syrian] the regime is deployed, close to areas led by Kurdish forces, ”he added.

The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), an aid group that helps health centers in opposition areas, confirmed that the hospital was the target of two missiles that destroyed the polyclinic department, the emergency and delivery rooms.

Two of the 13 dead were hospital staff and two were ambulance drivers, SAMS said. Eleven troops were injured.

SAMS said the hospital was one of the largest facilities in northern Syria that offered thousands of medical services each month and that its coordinates were shared as part of the United Nations-led disengagement mechanism.

Afrin was largely cleared of YPG fighters in 2018 through a Turkish military operation. Ankara now retains a large military presence in the area, deploying thousands of troops.

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