Syrian gov­ern­ment at­tacks 2 hospi­tals, bread line in Aleppo

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - WEATHER - By Sarah El Deeb

BEIRUT >> Gov­ern­ment shelling and airstrikes in Syria’s Aleppo landed near a bread distri­bu­tion cen­ter and two hospi­tals Wed­nes­day, killing seven peo­ple and putting at least one of the med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties com­pletely out of ser­vice, ac­tivists and medics said.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon de­scribed the con­di­tions in eastern, rebel-held Aleppo as worse than a “slaugh­ter­house” at a Se­cu­rity Coun­cil meet­ing.

“Those us­ing ever more de­struc­tive weapons know ex­actly what they are do­ing — they know they are com­mit­ting war crimes,” Ban said, with­out nam­ing any coun­tries. Syria’s gov­ern­ment is wag­ing a ma­jor of­fen­sive in Aleppo and both Syria and Rus­sia are car­ry­ing out airstrikes on the city.

Doctors With­out Bor­ders, which sup­ported both of the hospi­tals dam­aged Wed­nes­day, said a “bru­tal and re­lent­less on­slaught from air and land” has left eastern Aleppo with just seven sur­gi­cal doctors to treat a pop­u­la­tion of some 250,000.

The head of the or­ga­ni­za­tion, also known by its French acro­nym MSF, said peo­ple are be­ing taken off life sup­port be­cause of a “mul­ti­tude” of wounded, and doctors in eastern Aleppo are left to “await their own deaths.”

Joanna Liu called the war “a race to the bot­tom,” and called on the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to “en­act an ab­so­lute pro­hi­bi­tion of at­tacks on med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties.”

Aref al-Aref, a nurse at M2, one of the hospi­tals, said gov­ern­ment shelling hit the bread distri­bu­tion cen­ter near the city cen­ter be­fore dawn. The Bri­tain-based Syrian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights and the Aleppo Me­dia Cen­ter said six peo­ple were killed out­side the cen­ter.

As the wounded were brought into the hospi­tal, one of five shells fired in a se­quence fell at the emer­gency en­trance, killing a per­son who was ac­com­pa­ny­ing a wounded pa­tient, alAref said.

He said the shelling dam­aged the hospi­tal and put parts of it out of ser­vice. He said three hospi­tal staff mem­bers were wounded. Later, an airstrike hit near the hospi­tal with­out wound­ing any­one, he said.

In an­other at­tack, an airstrike hit near a hospi­tal in the north­ern part of the rebel-held area, cut­ting off elec­tric­ity and water sup­plies. Mo­hammed Abu Ra­jab, head of the M10 hospi­tal, the largest of eight hospi­tals in eastern Aleppo, said the in­ten­sive care unit was most af­fected, as the gen­er­a­tors and the oxy­gen sup­plies were knocked out.

Abu Ra­jab said the ICU pa­tients had to be moved to an­other fa­cil­ity. Water sup­plies and the hospi­tal’s fuel tanks were also hit, he said.

The Ob­ser­va­tory, which re­lies on a net­work of ac­tivists in­side Syria, said the neigh­bor­hood where M10 hospi­tal is lo­cated has been tar­geted by war­planes, he­li­copters and ar­tillery since early Wed­nes­day.

“It hit when we were asleep. No one has slept since and we are ex­hausted,” said Abu Ra­jab. He said au­thor­i­ties “know this fa­cil­ity and where it is very well.” No one was wounded in the at­tack, he said.

Ad­ham Sahloul of the U.S.based Syrian Amer­i­can Med­i­cal So­ci­ety, which sup­ports the two hospi­tals, said the at­tacks on the med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties took place at the same time, sug­gest­ing they were de­lib­er­ately tar­geted. He said that while the two hospi­tals were not di­rectly hit, the at­tacks caused struc­tural dam­age to both.

Sahloul said that one child who was in an am­bu­lance died be­cause he was not able to re­ceive treat­ment dur­ing the chaos. Abu Ra­jab, of the M10 hospi­tal, said two peo­ple had been killed be­cause they could not re­ceive treat­ment af­ter the hospi­tals were at­tacked, but did not pro­vide fur­ther de­tails.

Doctors With­out Bor­ders said the two hospi­tals have been forced to halt all ac­tiv­i­ties, leav­ing just two hospi­tals with the abil­ity to carry out surgery in a city ex­pe­ri­enc­ing “a bru­tal and re­lent­less on­slaught from air and land.”

It said in a state­ment that the strikes on the hospi­tals caused the deaths of at least two pa­tients and wounded two medics.

SYRIAN CIVIL DE­FENSE WHITE HEL­METS VIA AP

This Tues­day photo pro­vided by the Syrian Civil De­fense group known as the White Hel­mets shows a Civil De­fense worker car­ry­ing the body of a child af­ter airstrikes hit alShaar neigh­bor­hood in Aleppo, Syria.

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