The main emergency hospital in the rebel-held east of the Syrian city of Aleppo has been hit in an air strike for the third time in a week, as the regime and its allied stepped up their offensive on the besieged areas of the city.
Assad regime, backed by Russia, said on September 22 it was starting a new wide offensive to recapture the rebel-held parts of Aleppo after a week-long ceasefire was declared officially over on 19 September. the offensive includes a ground assault, artillery bombardment, and intensive airstrikes.
Since 19 September, more than 500 civilians have been killed and more than 1700 injured in rebel-held areas of Aleppo province, including the besieged eastern part of the city, Civil defense workers said.
The medical facility, known as M10, is “completely destroyed … It is gone”, said Adham Sahloul of the Syrian American Medical Society on Monday, adding that three maintenance workers had been killed.
The attack killed another four people outside the hospital, Dr Abu al-Izz said.
A video purportedly of the aftermath showed damaged walls and craters on one side of the M10 hospital.
Three maintenance workers were among those killed, a medical charity said.
The repeated attacks on hospitals in rebel-held Aleppo have drawn condemnation from the UN – and accusations of war crimes.
Al-Izz and Ibrahim al-Hajj of the White Helmets rescue organisation in eastern Aleppo said the hospital had been hit by a “bunker-buster” bomb – designed to demolish below-ground facilities – which, they said, are dropped by Russian planes.
The bunker-busting bomb had left a 10m-deep (33ft) crater outside the front entrance, and there were fears the rest of the building might collapse, he added.
Two waves of airstrikes struck eastern Aleppo’s M10 hospital, one of the last three functioning major hospitals in the east of the city. The first strike hit the hospital on Monday morning, killing seven people and leaving a large hole near the entrance.
It was still reported to be functioning until a second strike in the early evening, when rescue workers were still at the scene. The hospital had already been struck from the air on Saturday and workmen were repairing the damage at the time of the first strike on Monday.
At least two barrel bombs hit the M10 hospital on Monday, according to the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS).
“Two barrel bombs hit the M10 hospital and there were reports of a cluster bomb as well,” said Adham Sahloul of the SAMS.
Both M10 and the second-largest hospital in the area, M2, were heavily bombed on Wednesday, attacks that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon denounced as “war crimes.”
Syrian and Russian warplanes have been blamed for a series of attacks that have damaged hospitals and clinics in rebel-held parts of Syria, mostly in the northern city of Aleppo.
— SAMS (@sams_usa) October 3, 2016
— شبكة الثورة السورية (@RevolutionSyria) October 3, 2016
The Assad regime forces, backed by Russian air power, Iranian ground forces and Shi’ite militia fighters from Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, has been tightening its grip on rebel-held districts of Aleppo this year, and this summer achieved a long-held goal of fully encircling the area.
Recovering full control of the rebels’ last significant urban area would be the most important victory of the war so far for Assad, strengthening his control over Syria’s most populous and strategically important regions.
The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.