“This attack can only be considered deliberate. It was probably carried out by the Syrian government-led coalition that is predominantly active in the region,” she told a news briefing.
Accounts from surviving hospital staff led MSF to believe that the government-led coalition had carried out the attack.
“We say a probability because we don’t have more facts than the accounts from our staff,” Liu said, noting that it took time to collect forensic evidence. “The only thing predominantly in the region is the Syrian government-led coalition.”
This was not just an attack on our hospital – it was an attack on the Geneva Conventions. This cannot be tolerated. These Conventions govern the rules of war and were established to protect civilians in conflicts – including patients, medical workers and facilities.They bring some humanity into what is otherwise an inhumane situation.
The Geneva Conventions are not just an abstract legal framework – they are the difference between life and death for medical teams on the frontline. They are what allow patients to access our health facilities safely and what allows us to provide healthcare without being targeted.
It is precisely because attacking hospitals in war zones is prohibited that we expected to be protected. And yet, ten patients including 3 children, and 12 MSF staff were killed in the aerial raids.
All parties to the conflict, including in Kabul and Washington, were clearly informed of the precise location (GPS Coordinates) of the MSF facilities – hospital, guest-house, office and an outreach stabilization unit in Chardara (to the north-west of Kunduz). As MSF does in all conflict contexts, these precise locations were communicated to all parties on multiple occasions over the past months, including most recently on 29 September.
Civilian hospitals shall be marked by means of the emblem provided for in Article 38 [red cross or red crescent] of the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field of August 12, 1949, but only if so authorized by the State.
The Parties to the conflict shall, in so far as military considerations permit, take the necessary steps to make the distinctive emblems indicating civilian hospitals clearly visible to the enemy land, air and naval forces in order to obviate the possibility of any hostile action.
In view of the dangers to which hospitals may be exposed by being close to military objectives, it is recommended that such hospitals be situated as far as possible from such objectives.
In Reuters article, “MSF seeks independent probe into bombing of Syria hospital,” it would also admit (emphasis added):
MSF said it had not provided the hospital’s GPS coordinates to Syrian or Russian authorities, at the request of local staff.
“This attack can only be considered deliberate. It was probably carried out by the Syrian government-led coalition that is predominantly active in the region,” she [Dr. Joanne Liu] told a news briefing.