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After attack on Aleppo hospital, Syria cease-fire ‘alive, but barely’

An airstrike smashed a hospital supported by the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders overnight in Aleppo, Syria, killing dozens including one of the region's last pediatricians. Other attacks followed, punctuating the collapse of a cease-fire in the country's largest city. A State Department spokesman said all signs suggest the Syrian military carried out the bombings. Hari Sreenivasan reports.

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  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Death rained down on Syria’s largest city today. At least 60 people were killed, nearly half of them at a hospital. It was the starkest evidence yet that a two-month-old truce is now history.

    Chaos in the darkness of Aleppo. An airstrike smashed this hospital supported by the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders in a rebel-held section of the city, among the dead, one of the region’s last remaining pediatricians.

  • SAM TAYLOR, Doctors Without Borders:

    This was a place for women to go and give birth. This was a place for children to go and get specialist treatment. It’s now a pile of rubble.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    After sunrise, more strikes hit a residential neighborhood, and rescue workers scrambled to pull a young girl free.

  • MAN (through interpreter):

    Here is a residential area. They are striking at residents. They are no terrorists here.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    At the same time, Syrian state media reported at least 1,000 mortar rounds and rockets were fired into government-held areas of Aleppo. The attacks punctuate the collapse of a cease-fire in the country’s largest city.

    The truce is also hanging by a thread in Homs, where an aid convoy was hit this week. For its part, Russia denied its warplanes carried out the hospital bombing in Aleppo. Instead, in Washington, a State Department spokesman said all signs point to the Syrian military.

  • JOHN KIRBY, State Department Spokesman:

    The indications that we have now — and, again, this just happened — are that these were — that these strikes were conducted by the regime.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    And in a statement, Secretary of State John Kerry insisted Russia use its influence on President Bashar al-Assad to stop the attacks.

    The main Syrian opposition group joined in, from Turkey, blaming Moscow and Damascus for the resumption of fighting.

  • ANAS AL-ABDEH, President, Syrian National Coalition:

    The regime, along with the Russians, are burying the cessation of hostilities by committing crimes and massacres across Syria.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    And the U.N.’s special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, emerged in Geneva to say the cease-fire is still alive, but barely. He urged the United States and Russia to salvage the truce and bring the warring parties back to the table.

  • STAFFAN DE MISTURA, Special Envoy for Syria, United Nations:

    The Russian Federation and the U.S., as you remember, had a very strong initiative which produced basically a miracle, and that produced the feeling of hope, unexpected hope. We need to be urgently revitalized.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    There was also a dire warning from the head of the U.N.’s humanitarian task force. He spoke of catastrophic deterioration in Aleppo.

  • JAN EGELAND, Chairman, UN Humanitarian Task Force in Syria:

    The lifeline to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people that have had hopes that things would really get better now, that lifeline may be broken.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Adding to the warning, the International Red Cross reported stocks of food and medicine in Aleppo will run out soon, and the resurgence of fighting makes it impossible to bring in more.

    We will hear from Doctors Without Borders after the news summary.

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