UN’s Guterres condemns ongoing airstrikes on Syria’s hospitals, medical workers

epa06908371 A Syrian air force's fighter jet drops bombs on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights at the village of Sayda al-Golan in the southeastern Quneitra province, as seen from the Israeli side of the border, 24 July 2018. Media reports that a Syrian Army's Sukhoi warplane was shot down by Israeli missiles after entering two kilometers inside Israeli airspace, and crashed into the Syrian territories. EPA-EFE/ATEF SAFADI

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Reports that airstrikes have hit several health facilities in north-west Syria have been strongly condemned by the UN Secretary-General.

In a statement issued late Thursday evening, António Guterres said that one of the damaged facilities included a large hospital in Maarat al-Numan whose coordinates had been shared with belligerents, through the UN’s de-confliction mechanism.

The development follows escalating violence since April in Idlib, the last opposition-held enclave in the country.

Some three million people live there, many of them displaced by previous clashes between Government and opposition fighters elsewhere in the war-torn country.

Highlighting the impact of the airstrikes on non-combatants, Mr. Guterres insisted that civilians and public buildings must be protected, in line with a 2018 de-escalation agreement overseen by guarantors Russia and Turkey.

The UN Secretary-General also insisted that those responsible for carrying out serious violations of international humanitarian law should be held accountable.

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