01:48 - Source: CNN
Syrian Observatory: Russian airstrikes kill 23 people

Story highlights

One strike hit near a hospital, not directly on facility

Syria's a dangerous place for doctors, as many as 15,000 have fled country

CNN —  

At least 23 people were killed in airstrikes Monday night in the Syrian city of Idlib, according to a humanitarian group.

One of the strikes hit near a local hospital, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Earlier reports that the hospital was struck directly were incorrect, said the Observatory’s Rami Abdulrahman. A Syrian, he and others with the group are based in the United Kingdom, and communicate constantly with people on the ground in Syria.

Video posted by the Syrian Civil Defense, a volunteer search-and-rescue operation in the country, showed responders digging through the rubble, searching for survivors.

One rescuer could be seen lifting the body of a young boy in his arms, his face covered in dust.

Syria has been one of the more dangerous places in the world to work in for doctors.

Dangers in Syria

As of December, 57% of public hospitals and 51% of public health centers in Syria are either partially functioning or closed down, according to the World Health Organization.

About 15,000 doctors have fled Syria, according to the NGO Medics Under Fire, and those that remain risk their lives on a daily basis.

Hospitals have increasingly been caught in the crossfire, with multiple sides accused of hitting medical facilities.

They have long been considered safe zones during the fighting, and medical workers will often give hospital locations to all parties involved to avoid being hit.

The regime of Bashar al-Assad has been consistently accused of targeting hospitals, which is a war crime.

“Syria is the most dangerous place in the world to be a doctor,” Medics Under Fire says. “Medical workers are systematically targeted by the Syrian government in a bid to weaken the civilian areas not under its control.”

In April, at least 50 people were killed when a pediatric hospital in Aleppo was hit, drawing international condemnation.

Two doctors, two nurses, one guard and one maintenance worker were killed, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres, also known as Doctors Without Borders

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry blamed the Assad regime for the attacks.

Other hospital strikes

Hospitals in war zones other than Syria have also come under fire recently.

Pentagon hospital attack report falls short

Five people were killed and 10 others wounded in a January strike on a hospital backed by MSF in Yemen.

It’s unclear which side was responsible for the “projectile” that struck the facility.

In October, the United States accidentally struck a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz, killing 19 people – 12 staffers and seven patients.

U.S. officials have since apologized for the incident.

An internal investigation revealed that U.S. forces were targeting a Taliban location 400 meters away from the hospital.

The Pentagon announced in April that 16 people would be disciplined in the incident.

Some personnel involved “failed to comply with the rules of engagement and the law of armed conflict,” but maintained the strike was not a war crime because it resulted from unintentional human error and equipment failure.

MSF has pushed for an independent investigation into the incident.

CNN’s Schams Elwazer, Barbara Starr and Ryan Browne contributed to this report.