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Hospital In Aleppo 'Fully Destroyed' In Airstrike, Red Cross Says


There's been fierce fighting in Syria after the partial collapse of a cease-fire there. This morning, we are receiving news of airstrikes in Aleppo, Syria's largest city. Among the targets, one of Aleppo's most important hospitals for children and women. At least 14 people were killed, among them children. We're joined now by Pawel Krzysiek with the International Committee of the Red Cross in Damascus. Thank you so much for being with us.

PAWEL KRZYSIEK: Thank you very much.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Can you tell us what the latest is? You spoke with some of the hospital staff. What are they telling you?

KRZYSIEK: Well, the situation in Aleppo is getting quite dramatic. I mean, the city has seen very, very intensifying fighting. There is practically no neighborhood that is not touched by an airstrike or a clash or fighting or a mortar. The recent attack on the hospital has shown how deadly this fighting can be in Aleppo.

It is also a very tough trend. It is not the first time, not only in Aleppo but in all Syria, the medical facilities are hit. And this means that many, many thousands, maybe even millions of people, are deprived of life-saving medical care. When I'm talking with our ICRC teams on the ground in Aleppo - I just got off the phone with one of them - the people are tired.

They don't really know anymore what the next day will bring or the next night will bring. The nights are very, very tense. All over the city, you hear the sounds of the shelling, the sounds of the fighting and shooting and the airstrikes. It's very difficult life. The people are on the brink. They are on the mental edge, we can say.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Can you tell me when you spoke to them on the phone what exactly did they say? What is the scene there at the hospital?

KRZYSIEK: Well, the people are in shock. They're all in shock. They still cannot really believe what just happened.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Can you tell us a little bit about the hospital, the al-Quds hospital? How central was it to life in Aleppo?

KRZYSIEK: Yes, it was one of the nine medical facilities on the eastern part of Aleppo. This hospital was, you know - it was providing valued services to the people there. And then we have to really know the situation - the health care situation - in Aleppo was already very dramatic, very difficult.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Do we know exactly how many people might have been killed in this airstrike and what the situation is on the ground?

KRZYSIEK: No. For the time being, we have yet clear information, the very contradictory report. As you know, the hospital is located on the eastern side. It is the side where the fighting is the most intense, in that it's very difficult to actually access this place for the humanitarian organizations.

We have to rely on those reports. We are in touch with the medical staff, but for now even then - it cannot really have a full picture about the situation. Bodies are still being retrieved, and many of them have yet to be identified.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How badly damaged is the hospital?

KRZYSIEK: It's fully destroyed. It is fully destroyed.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK. Thank you very much.

KRZYSIEK: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Pawel Krzysiek from the International Committee of the Red Cross in Damascus. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.