‘All hos­pi­tals are de­stroyed’ in bat­tle for Aleppo

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

ALL med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties in Syria’s rebel-held Aleppo have been de­stroyed, health of­fi­cials and op­po­si­tion ac­tivists have said, as another day of fe­ro­cious gov­ern­ment bom­bard­ment on the be­sieged city left dozens of peo­ple dead.

Air raids, bar­rel bombs and ar­tillery fire killed at least 56 peo­ple on Satur­day, vol­un­teers with the White Hel­mets group said. The res­cuers, who op­er­ate in rebel-held parts of Syria, said they had been pulling bod­ies, in­clud­ing those of chil­dren, out of the rub­ble. The Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights, a UK-based group mon­i­tor­ing the war, re­ported a lower death toll of 27 civil­ians.

The lat­est deaths came as health of­fi­cials said that ev­ery hos­pi­tal in the rebel-held east is now out of ser­vice — a state­ment also con­firmed by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion, ac­cord­ing to Reuters news agency.

“They [health of­fi­cials] say that they are specif­i­cally be­ing tar­geted to make peo­ple give up. In the last few hours, two re­main­ing hos­pi­tals have come un­der in­tense shelling by the regime,” Osama bin Javaid, re­port­ing from Gaziantep, on the Turk­ish side of the Syria-Tur­key bor­der, said. “Ac­tivists told us that these are spe­cific tar­gets and civil­ians have nowhere to go now as med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties have been taken out.”

In an in­ter­view, Dr Ahmed Mbayed, of the Cana­dian Med­i­cal Re­lief Or­gan­i­sa­tion, also con­firmed that all med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties in be­sieged Aleppo “are to­tally out of ser­vice”.

“The peo­ple are hope­less now. They don’t have any ac­cess to es­sen­tial [med­i­cal] ser­vices in Aleppo,” he said from Gaziantep, adding that even ware­houses with med­i­cal sup­plies had also come un­der at­tack.

White Hel­mets res­cuers in Aleppo also said that all their equip­ment and ve­hi­cles had been taken out by the shelling.

The city of Aleppo, once Syria’s com­mer­cial cen­tre, has been di­vided since 2012, with the eastern half in rebel hands and the west­ern half con­trolled by gov­ern­ment forces. More than 250 000 civil­ians are still trapped in the east, which is un­der near con­stant bom­bard­ment, with dwin­dling food sup­plies and ex­tremely lim­ited med­i­cal care. — Al Jazeera

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