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MSF: Rescuers Pull 3 Wounded From Airstrike-hit Syrian Hospital

  • VOA News

FILE - People look for survivors in the ruins of a destroyed Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) supported hospital hit by missiles in Marat Numan, Idlib province, Syria, Feb. 16, 2016.

FILE - People look for survivors in the ruins of a destroyed Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) supported hospital hit by missiles in Marat Numan, Idlib province, Syria, Feb. 16, 2016.

Doctors Without Borders said Wednesday rescuers pulled three wounded people from the rubble of a hospital in northern Syria that was destroyed by an airstrike.

The international aid group, known by its French initials MSF, posted on Twitter that search efforts at the site in Idlib province were continuing.

MSF said Tuesday that 25 of its staff members were in the hospital when the attack happened Monday and that 11 people have been confirmed killed. The dead include five staff, five patients and a caregiver.

Who is responsible for the airstrike is still unclear, and has led to competing accusations and denials.

Syria's accusations

At the United Nations Tuesday, Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari accused MSF of being a "branch of French intelligence operating in Syria," and said the group "assumed the full consequences" because it was operating without government permission. Ja’afari accused the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition of carrying out the attack.

U.S. Defense officials have stressed that no coalition aircraft were involved.

"It's going to require a careful assessment from people on the ground. I know there are questions about the Russian activities in the region, but I can't say with specificity who was directly responsible," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said Tuesday.

The Russian government has also denied accusations that its air force was responsible.

Syrian-Turkish Border

Meanwhile, Russia called for a private meeting of the U.N. Security council Tuesday to discuss Turkey’s shelling of Kurdish militia YPG’s (People’s Protection Units) positions in northern Syria.

Ankara has been shelling YPG positions for several days to try to keep it from taking the strategically important border town of Azaz. .

“I called on our partners to work with Turkey to stop this unacceptable activity,” Russian deputy ambassador Vladimir Safronkov told reporters after the session.

“It looks very much like Russia is trying to change the subject,” British U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said of Russia’s call for a meeting on the Turkish shelling. Echoing his foreign minister, he said “Russia bombing hospitals in Syria is potentially a war crime and needs to be investigated.”

The Russian envoy dismissed Western skepticism over Moscow’s reasons for the meeting, saying “instead of doing this senseless, useless, displaced propaganda,” cooperation would be better.

Russia has accused Turkey of buying and re-selling oil stolen from Iraq and Syria by the so-called Islamic State, a charge Ankara strongly denies.

VOA United Nations correspondent Margaret Besheer contributed to this report.

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