The International medical aid group Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) was attacked Wednesday in the Syrian city of Aleppo. According to the charity, the direct U.S. airstrike killed more than a dozen doctors and patients including “one of the city’s last pediatricians.”
“The strikes were the latest in a series of increasingly violent attacks that have violated the truce, raising fears of a complete breakdown of efforts to end the years-long conflict,” the Washington Post reported.
On Friday, Gen. Joseph Votel, Commander of the U.S. Central Command, addressed a similar hospital attack that occurred last October. Votel claimed strike on the hospital was “not a war crime because it was unintentional.”
“The investigation found that this tragic incident was caused by a combination of human errors compounded by process and equipment failures,” Votel said. Ultimately, since the military has labeled this an accidental attack, 16 military personnel involved were disciplined but will not face criminal prosecution for their roles in the 42 deaths.
Hospitals in conflict zones are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Last year in Syria alone, 67 medical facilities were bombed. Doctors Without Borders hopes to raise awareness of this growing problem in anticipation of the United Nations Security Council’s vote next week.
“On May 3, 2016, the United Nations Security Council will vote on a resolution designed to stop future attacks against hospitals, patients and civilians in war zones. We have closely followed the drafting of this resolution, and now we need your help to make sure it will be as strong as possible,” stated MSF-USA.
“Specifically, Doctors Without Borders wants to make sure that this resolution will: 1. Reaffirm all countries’ existing obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL); 2. Reaffirm the protection of the impartial provision of medical care, health workers and of all patients, regardless of their background (as per IHL) 3. Establish effective independent investigations to report attacks on medical facilities and hold accountable those who attack.”
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