‘All hospitals are destroyed’ in battle for Aleppo
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