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Civil war

Medical aid NGO condemns Aleppo bombings

The Swiss chapter of an international medical relief organisation has issued a strong condemnation of continued bombings in the Syrian city of Aleppo that put two hospitals out of commission on Wednesday morning.

The Geneva-based branch of the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) issued a press release condemning the bomb attacks and supporting a three-hour non-emergency strike by medical staff in Syria. The action was staged to protest the harrowing conditions in which they operate.

Some 800 medical aid workers have been killed in Syria since the civil war erupted in 2011, according to UOSSM Switzerland – 115 this year alone. International medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said on Wednesday that two of its hospitals were out of service following overnight bombing on Tuesday and early Wednesday morning.

The UOSSM Switzerland statement called on the international community to “stop the killing which has claimed hundreds of civilians in the past few days, stop the daily bombings, stop the systematic attacks of health facilities and medical staff, stop the agony of the people of Aleppo and Syria”.

“We reiterate our call for the immediate establishment of a humanitarian ceasefire and the immediate opening of an independent humanitarian corridor,” the statement added.

Swiss condemnation

The Swiss government has on numerous occasions condemned the continued attacks on civilian and medical facilities in Syria.

In July, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued a statement that Switzerland "condemns all attacks, including those on medical facilities and calls for the protection of the population and civilian infrastructure, and improved immediate and sustainable humanitarian access so that the basic needs of the civilian population can be satisfied."

The civil war is estimated to have killed more than a quarter of a million people and displaced many millions more. Some 250,000 civilians are trapped between the warring sides in Aleppo, which has taken the brunt of much of the fighting.

Hostilities worsened following the collapse of a fragile ceasefire agreement a week ago.

On Wednesday, United States Secretary of State John Kerry blamed the recent bombings on Russia and threatened to pull out of current peace negotiations unless they were halted.

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