Overnight airstrikes in Aleppo completely destroyed a hospital that was supported by Doctors Without Borders, and three children and the city’s last pediatrician were among the dead. A total of at least 27 people were killed.
The airstrikes in Aleppo were part of a wave of aerial bombings being conducted by the Syrian government, according to ABC News. The airstrikes were intended for rebel-held areas and the Syrian military says the hospital was not targeted, but hospital staff said the hospital was destroyed by at least one strike.
The International Committee of the Red Cross says that the city is “on the brink of a humanitarian disaster” due to escalating violence there, and the attack on the hospital was definitely a horrifying and devastating blow to the community there. Valter Gros, of the ICRC, said that “explosions of mortars, shelling and planes flying over” were heard everywhere, and the whole city is living in fear.
“There is no neighborhood of the city that hasn’t been hit. People are living on the edge. Everyone here fears for their lives and nobody knows what is coming next.”
Aleppo is a rebel-held Syrian city, meaning the Assad regime has some control of the city, and the Syrian government has been trying to gain back control. According to USA Today, the airstrikes in Aleppo also targeted several opposition-held areas of the northern city and killed 31 people. The overnight airstrikes along with days of airstrikes and shelling in Aleppo have killed about 200 people in the city, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The New York Times gave some background on the history of Aleppo and why the city is so divided. Aleppo was once considered Syria’s commercial center, but over the past few years, the city has been split into two halves – one controlled by insurgents and the other by the government. The overnight airstrikes that caused such deadly destruction were only part of the fighting going on in the city over the past week. The city was in a volatile truce, a partial cease-fire until fighting broke out last week and culminated in the destruction of the hospital last night.
As of now, it is unclear just which side bombed the Al Quds hospital, which was located on the rebel side of Aleppo, but the location was well-known and was assisted by DWB. Russia’s military, which has also been involved in the fighting, denied any responsibility for the bombing of the hospital as well.
The New York Times also described the aftermath of the airstrikes destruction — scenes of people were carrying injured children, casualties streaming into the Al Razi hospital, ambulance sirens wailing. Most of the wounded gathering at the hospital were civilians, but some were members of the military. At least three children were killed in the airstrikes.
Violence had been rising over the past week, according to Hassan Anees, the hospital’s executive director. Anees said that rebels had started using more powerful weapons since the cease-fire was broken over a week ago.
“First it was mortars, then it was gas cannister bombs, and now it is missiles,” he said.
The pediatrician who was killed was Mohammad Wassim Mo’az, and he was the only pediatrician in the area. A dentist, Ahmad Abulyaman, was also killed, according to the New York Times. The hospital was the main referral center for pediatrics, and eight doctors and 28 nurses staffed the hospital, which is now destroyed. A journalist/photographer spoke to the New York Times by phone and said that about 11 nurses and hospital staff died in the bombing.
What are your thoughts on the airstrikes in Aleppo and do you think the hospital was destroyed by the rebels or the government? Please share your opinions below.
[Photo by Validated UGC via AP video]