A series of airstrikes hit a hospital and nearby buildings in a rebel-held area of Syria’s Aleppo, killing at least 20 people, including three children and the last pediatrician in the city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday.
The strikes come as the U.N. envoy for Syria had appealed early Thursday on the U.S. and Russia to help revive the Syrian peace talks and a ceasefire he said “hangs by a thread.”
“I really fear that the erosion of the cessation is unraveling the fragile consensus around a political solution, carefully built over the last year,” de Mistura said in his council briefing obtained by The Associated Press. “Now I see parties reverting to the language of a military solution or military option. We must ensure that they do not see that as a solution or an option.”
The raids hit shortly before midnight Wednesday, according to opposition activists and rescue workers.
The Syrian Civil Defense said the al-Quds hospital in the rebel-held district of al-Sukkari in Aleppo and adjacent buildings were struck in four consecutive airstrikes.
Two other doctors were also among those killed, the Britain-based war monitor said. In a statement on its Facebook page, the Civil Defense rescue service in rebel-held areas of Aleppo put the death toll at 20.
The chief Syrian opposition negotiator Mohammed Alloush accused the government of President Bashar Assad of the deadly airstrikes on Aleppo. He told The Associated Press that the latest violence by government forces shows “the environment is not conducive to any political action.”
The Observatory said in the past six days in Aleppo 84 civilians had been killed in government air strikes and 49 civilians were killed in rebel shelling of government-held areas.
Fighting in Aleppo began to escalate on April 22 and a Feb. 27 cessation of hostilities agreement, which initially reduced violence in many areas of Syria, was described by the United Nations as being “barely alive” on Thursday.
Peace talks went down last week after the main opposition group, called the High Negotiating Committee (HNC), suspended its formal participation in the indirect talks with Assad’s envoys to protest Assad government ceasefire violations, a drop in humanitarian aid deliveries and no progress in winning the release of detainees in Syria.