Aleppo bomb­ing shuts largest hospi­tal

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Rus­sian and Syr­ian air raids on the rebel-held eastern half of the city of Aleppo have forced the clo­sure of the largest hospi­tal in the area and killed two peo­ple, a med­i­cal char­ity says.

The Syr­ian Amer­i­can Med­i­cal So­ci­ety, which sup­ports the hospi­tal, said it had been struck by bar­rel bombs.

There are also re­ports of Rus­sian-backed Syr­ian govern­ment forces hit­ting Aleppo’s his­toric Old City. Clashes be­tween govern­ment troops and rebels are oc­cur­ring in sev­eral ar­eas.

Rus­sian and Syr­ian air forces re­sumed at­tacks on the re­bel­held east of the city af­ter a par­tial truce lapsed on 19 Septem­ber. Govern­ment forces have also launched a ground of­fen­sive against the rebels.

The mount­ing civil­ian death toll has sparked in­ter­na­tional protests. The US says Rus­sia is driv­ing mod­er­ate rebels into the arms of ji­hadists.

Once Syria’s com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial hub, Aleppo has been di­vided roughly in two since 2012. The UN says at least 400 civil­ians, in­clud­ing many chil­dren, have been killed in the city this week as a re­sult of Rus­sian and Syr­ian govern­ment at­tacks.

On Satur­day, air raids hit Aleppo’s main trauma M10 hospi­tal for the third time in a mat­ter of days, med­i­cal work­ers say.

“The hospi­tal is now out of service com­pletely,” ra­di­ol­o­gist Mo­ham­mad Abu Ra­jab was quoted by Reuters as say­ing.

“There’s destruc­tion to walls, in­fra­struc­ture, equip­ment and gen­er­a­tors. There are no more guards or staff left. It’s com­plete dark­ness.”

Hospi­tal man­ager Dr Abu Ra­jan told lo­cal me­dia that about 10 peo­ple at the hospi­tal had been in­jured af­ter it was hit by bar­rel bombs - im­pro­vised de-

vices dropped from he­li­copters clus­ter mu­ni­tions, and a chlo­rine bomb. nTwo pa­tients were killed, while oth­ers have now been trans­ferred to al­ter­na­tive fa­cil­i­ties, the Syr­ian Amer­i­can Med­i­cal So­ci­ety said. A spokesman for US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama con­demned the bomb­ing, which he said showed “to­tal dis­re­gard” for med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als and pa­tients.

“Re­ports of yet an­other hospi­tal being de­stroyed fur­ther demon­strates the to­tal dis­re­gard for the lives of med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als and their pa­tients who need critical care be­cause of the As­sad regime and Rus­sia’s relentless cam­paign against the Syr­ian peo­ple.”

French For­eign Min­is­ter JeanMarc Ayrault also con­demned the bomb­ing, say­ing the shelling of health­care struc­tures and per­son­nel con­sti­tuted war crimes and the per­pe­tra­tors would have to be held to ac­count.

The Syr­ian army says it is gain­ing ground but the rebels deny this.

“They are shelling the Old City heav­ily af­ter an­other failed at­tempt to gain ground,” Abu Ha­mam, from the Failaq al-Sham group, was quoted as say­ing by Reuters news agency.

“They have lost sev­eral fight­ers and we are stead­fast.”

The Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights, a UK-based mon­i­tor­ing group, also re­ported govern­ment bar­rel bomb and jet at­tacks on the Ghouta area out­side Da­m­as­cus on Satur­day.

In an­other de­vel­op­ment, it said govern­ment forces were bat­tling fight­ers from the Is­lamic State group in Homs re­gion.

Wash­ing­ton and Moscow have con­tin­ued to spar over Syria, with the US dis­miss­ing Rus­sian ac­cu­sa­tions that it was pro­tect­ing a ji­hadist group in its bid to oust Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar alAs­sad.

Rus­sian For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Lavrov said the US had bro­ken its prom­ise to sep­a­rate the pow­er­ful Jab­hat Fateh al-Sham (for­merly known as al-Nusra Front) and other ex­trem­ist groups from more mod­er­ate rebels.

State depart­ment spokesman Mark Toner said the Rus­sian al­le­ga­tions were “ab­surd”.

He told re­porters the US had not tar­geted al-Nusra for months be­cause they had be­come “in­ter­min­gled” with other groups and civil­ians.

At least 250,000 peo­ple have been killed in the con­flict since it be­gan in March 2011 with the Ob­ser­va­tory es­ti­mat­ing the true num­ber to be about 430,000.

More than 4.8 mil­lion peo­ple have fled abroad, and an es­ti­mated 6.5 mil­lion oth­ers have been dis­placed within the coun­try, the UN says.

Pho­to­graph: AP

Bri­tish singer Roger Waters play the bass dur­ing his per­for­mance at a free con­cert in Mex­ico City’s Zocalo on Satur­day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.