Human Rights Watch says the main emergency hospital in an opposition-controlled area of Aleppo is barely functioning after Syrian fighter planes fired rockets at the facility Tuesday, wounding at least two civilians and causing significant damage. Researchers for the rights group say they were able to reach the Dar al Shifaa Hospital, in the Sha’ar neighborhood, about an hour after the attack. The facility was also hit by rockets two days earlier, an assault that HRW killed four civilians and wounded three others.
VOA’s Susan Yackee spoke with Ole Solvang, one of the researchers who visited the hospital, about what they found. When the phone line went dead, she finished the conversation with Fred Abrahams with Human Rights Watch in New York.
Solvang: ‘The hospital had been attacked again’
“We saw debris on the ground, broken glass, destroyed equipment. It turned out that the hospital had been attacked again, just one hour before we arrived. One fighter jet had attacked the hospital and a nearby school with several rockets. About four rockets hit the hospital itself, causing significant damage to the upper floors of the hospital, completely destroying operation rooms and a couple of wards.”
Solvang: ‘There were patients at the time of this attack’
“There were patients there at the time of this attack, but because the hospital had been attacked before, hospital staff had moved the patients down to the lower floors of the hospital and it was only using the upper floors for emergency operations.”
“It is very clear, the law is very clear on this type of strike. It is absolutely unlawful. In no way can any military force, whether it’s the government or the opposition, target a hospital, ambulances, doctors or any sort of medical facilities. And it does not matter if injured opposition fighters are being treated in there. Hospitals, even military hospitals, cannot be targeted. So, no question, this is a violation of the laws of war.”
Listen to more of HRW’s take on the situation in Aleppo (3:27)
Susan Yackee is anchor and producer of VOA's audio podcast, Middle East Monitor. She has been a reporter in the Washington area for more than 35 years and regularly interviews newsmakers and analysts in DC and around the world. Susan works in television, radio and social media.