Al-Quds Hospital, Aleppo

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Al-Quds hospital after the April incident
Al-Quds hospital is a medical facility in the opposition-held Sukkari district of Aleppo supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), that was famously reported as attacked and destroyed on April 27, 2016.


There are actually two facilities of this name in the district, according to labels in Wikimapia. Al-Quds is the one in the news stories (Report with a photo showing the location but the map is roatated). A larger facility looking more like a proper hospital is labeled Al-Qods, about one kilometer south. (the Arabic is the same ( القدس = Jerusalem)

April Attack Questioned

On April 27, 2016, the clinic was reportedly attacked and destroyed by a government air strike using a barrel bomb, killing dozens.

  • A statement by MSF/Doctors without Borders, who support this facility, claimed it “was destroyed by at least one airstrike which directly hit the building, reducing it to rubble.” (MSF)
  • “At least 27 people, including three children and six staff members, were reported killed in the strike on the hospital, which turned it into a smoking pile of rubble on Wednesday night” (New York Times)
  • (Washington Post)

On May 5, Rick Sterling of the Syria Solidarity Movement wrote an open letter to MSF about its bias, noting “the hospital photograph indicates it is not a “pile of rubble” and it’s unclear where the damage is.”

The night-time video NYT provided (credited to Yousur Al-Hlou, Aleppo Media Center) shows there's some rubble outside, piled against the arched front door, which is intact. At least two bodies are apparently found under rubble, but it's too dark to see much else. At 1:52 some heavy damage is seen inside near the front door, but further in is all intact, and the electric lights are all on. (NYT) Below: the inside of the main doorway and the area to the right of that - this is the only interior damage seen)

Quds Hospital interior.png

For good measure, here's the main door as seen from outside.

Quds Hospital exterior.png

A daylight photo like Sterling looked at (right) shows a damaged vehicle, evidencing perhaps a blast from the right of the camera - fresh sandbags are placed against the outer walls and on ledges – possibly damaged, but intact enough to stack sandbags against and on, and no serious damage to the bricks can be seen seen at the exposed edges.

Al-Quds hospital in Aleppo.jpg
True grief, or ticklish acting?
Could the story be entirely false? Consider the man seen at right, from the NYT video, claiming his family died. He seems to start laughing at his own extreme acting at the end, unable to wipe off the smile before the next video edit. There's a fine line between a smile and a grimace of pain, but he may be on the wrong side of it. This can't be proven either way, but the reader can make their own call.

It may or may not be the same Al-Quds hospital “reduced to rubble” in April that was treating victims of an alleged government chlorine attack in August (see Alleged Chemical Attack, August 10, 2016) and doing the same on September 6. Either way, reports of its total destruction were apparently exaggerated.