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Over 40 civilian casualties in regime attack on Aleppo hospital, Syria

Al-Shifaa hospital, 12 June 2021, Afrin, Syria. Image credit: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP

Afrin city in Aleppo, northern Syria, has seen a sharp rise in regime attacks and civilian casualties this month, June 2021. On Saturday 12 June, regime shelling struck Afrin’s al-Shifaa hospital, killing at least 18 people, 17 of whom were civilians, and injuring 23 others. Among the 41 casualties were a doctor, three hospital staff, two women, two children, a rebel commander, and a police officer. 

Several locations across Afrin, currently held by Turkish-backed rebels, were hit by regime shells on 12 June, a day the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has called the “Black Saturday” massacre. Casualty estimates currently stand at 48 people killed and injured, including 19 fatalities, across three incidents. A number of other locations and suspected rebel positions were reportedly struck by regime shelling, but casualties were not reported.

This is the second time this year AOAV has recorded the targeted shelling of a hospital by the Syrian regime. On 21 March, eight civilians were killed and 14 injured, including a child, when regime shells hit a surgical hospital in Atareb, Aleppo. 

In the last decade, 2011 – 2020, AOAV has recorded 106 incidents of explosive violence at hospitals in Syria, amassing a total of 1,520 civilian casualties in these incidents, 643 fatalities. 108 of the casualties were reportedly children. Syria has experienced, by far, the highest number of civilian casualties of explosive violence at hospitals this decade, followed by Afghanistan (625), Iraq (434), Pakistan (265), and Yemen (243).

AOAV reports on explosive violence in Syria include: