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Fincham's Words

U.N. envoy: Syrian truce 'hangs by a thread'

(CNN)In Syria the blood continues to flow, civilians continue to die and the tears keep falling.

This week, a hospital was bombed. Doctors were killed, the building was reduced to rubble, and nearby Syrians were left -- in the middle of a war -- with little access to medical care.

Displaced Syrian children living in a camp near the Turkish border.

Syria, a jewel of a country on the eastern end of the Mediterranean, remains convulsed by war, eating itself from within. It is smaller than 17 of the 50 American states, yet it commands the attention of diplomats the world over.

The tide of refugees from the country is threatening to overwhelm the European Union and crush its treasured system of open borders between most member countries.

And after more than five years of civil war, President Bashar al-Assad -- propped up in part by Russian air support -- still clings to power. His enemies remain implacable, and a negotiated solution seems hard to envision.

A truce negotiated in February among some of the groups fighting in Syria now "hangs by a thread," a U.N. official said this week -- and that is putting it generously. It appears to be collapsing.

What's happened in the last few days?

Not much that is encouraging -- and plenty that is worrying.

Fighting has intensified. In places where it had died down it has now flared up again, with a vengeance -- in Aleppo, for example, in the north of the country.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has blamed the bombing of a hospital in Aleppo on the Syrian regime.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 220 civilians, including more than 50 women and children, have been killed in in the city over the last eight days. Most have been killed by regime airstrikes on rebel-held areas of the city, according to the observatory, which opposes Assad's regime. But some civilians also have been killed by rebel shelling of government-controlled areas.

And on Wednesday, according to the international medical charity Doctors Without Borders, a hospital in Aleppo was hit by an airstrike and reduced to rubble. At least 50 people were killed, including two doctors, said the organization, which is also known by its French acronym, MSF.

"MSF categorically condemns this outrageous targeting of yet another medical facility in Syria," said Muskilda Zancada, head of the organization's operations in Syria. "This devastating attack has destroyed a vital hospital in Aleppo, and the main referral center for pediatric care in the area."

The organization said an estimated 250,000 people remain in the city, "which has seen dramatic increases in levels of bombardments, fighting and fatalities in recent weeks."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the attack and blamed it on the Syrian government.

Source : http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/29/middleeast/syria-recent-events/index.html

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