Hospital hit as airstrikes continue to pound Syria's Idlib

Hospital hit as airstrikes continue to pound Syria's Idlib
A hospital in Syria's rebel-held Idlib was hit by airstrikes believed to be carried out by pro-regime Russian war planes.
2 min read
15 February, 2018
Syrian medics check the damage at the 'Sham Surgical' hospital, in Idlib province [Getty]
Airstrikes have hit a Syrian hospital in the northwestern province of Idlib, in the seventh such raid on medical facilities in the past two weeks, said a war monitor on Thursday.

The aerial bombardment, believed to be carried out by Russia, hit the hospital in Idlib, the country's last province outside government control, late on Wednesday, reported the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.  

The Observatory added that raids are determined according to type, location, flight patterns and munitions used, in order to identity whose planes they are.

Boxes of medicine lay scattered on the floor of the hospital in the village of Hass on Thursday, while part of a wall collapsed onto a bed and medical equipment, reported an AFP correspondent.

Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the observatory, said: "The hospital was the last functional one in all of southeast Idlib."

"In two weeks, seven hospitals and medical clinics have been hit in Idlib in strikes by the regime or its Russian ally," he said, adding that a blood bank was also hit.

Last week saw five straight days of bombardment by regime warplanes and artillery killing more than 240 civilians, including 60 children, and wounded 775 people.

The offensive had trapped thousands of families in makeshift bomb shelters and overwhelmed rescue workers.

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on Saturday accused Syrian forces of carrying out "no-holds-barred" military offensives.

He denounced "wave after wave of deadly air strikes leading to civilian casualties" in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib.

Syria's northern provinces [click to enlarge]

"Civilian areas - specifically healthcare facilities – are being hit in northwestern Syria," said Omar Ahmed Abenza, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) head of mission for northwestern Syria, after a similar strike last week on the area of Mishmishan.

"The strikes, despite their regularity during the seven years long conflict, are currently at an intensity that should be a landmark, another wake-up call," he said.

The bombardment of medical facilities has a "terrible knock-on effect", he said, with fearful staff at other facilities reducing their services after each strike.

"The result is more people in greater need, with fewer health services open and available."

The UN Security Council is considering a draft resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire in Syria to allow for urgent deliveries of humanitarian aid.

The draft expresses "outrage at the unacceptable level of violence escalating in several parts of the country," in particular in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib. 

More than 13.1 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian aid, including 6.1 million who have been displaced within the country during the nearly seven-year war.