ROME — Pope Francis has decried the assault on the Syrian city of Aleppo, saying those responsible for the bombing must answer to God.
Francis said at his public audience Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square that he’s “united in suffering through prayer and spiritual closeness” to Aleppo’s people. He expressed “deep pain and strong worry for what’s happening,” saying “children and elderly … everyone is dying.”
He called for the utmost efforts to protect civilians in Syria’s civil war, raging since 2011. Francis said: “I appeal to the consciences of those responsible for the bombing that they must give a reckoning to God” for their actions.
The Syrian government and its Russian allies have unleashed a major assault on the ancient city.
Medical officials say airstrikes have severely damaged two hospitals in eastern rebel-held Aleppo, leading to the death of two seriously ill patients.
The airstrikes early Wednesday hit the M2 and M10 hospitals, knocking out generators and cutting off water supplies, putting them temporarily out of service.
Mohammed Abu Rajab, head of M10 hospital, the largest of eight hospitals in eastern Aleppo, says two patients died because they could not be kept alive. He says the intensive care unit was severely damaged.
Adham Sahloul, of the Syrian American Medical Society, based in Gaziantep, Turkey, confirmed the strikes and described them as deliberate. He says government forces know the location of both facilities.
The closures leave eastern Aleppo with six functioning hospitals, only three of which are capable of dealing with emergencies.