Syrian air raids target hospitals in regime's new Daraa offensive

Syrian air raids target hospitals in regime's new Daraa offensive
More than 150 raids were launched in Daraa as the regime turns its attention in the province that birthed the Syrian uprising seven years ago.
2 min read
27 June, 2018
Smoke rises after a regime airstrike in Nawa, 18 miles outside Daraa city [Getty]
The Syrian regime on Wednesday dropped tens of explosive barrels and carried out more than 150 raids against targets in Daraa province - including hospitals - as it widens its offensive in the southwestern part of the country.

At least 40 people have been killed from air raids, shelling and rocket attacks in Daraa since the offensive began on 19 June, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

Overnight air strikes also badly damaged three hospitals in the opposition controlled towns of Saida, al-Mseifra and al-Jiza, forcing the medical facilities to close. 

"The Saida hospital was put out of service after midnight, because of unidentified air strikes near the facility," said the observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

Air strikes by planes - identified by a UK-based monitor as Russian - then hit near the medical centre in al-Mseifra, forcing it to close.

"The hospital in al-Jiza was damaged this morning. There were Russian air strikes close to the hospital, which damaged it and put it out of service," Abdel Rahman added.

He had no immediate information on the fate of medical staff or the patients inside the facilities.

The recent closures bring to five the number of hospitals that have been put out of service by the Syrian regime's week-long military push on the south. 

Troops began ramping up air strikes, rocket fire and the raining down barrel bombs - crude improvised explosives - on rebel territory in Daraa and neighbouring Quneitra province on 19 June.

Russian warplanes then began striking, and troops launched an assault on the rebel-held half of Daraa city on Tuesday. 

Damascus began turning its attention south after it retook the last pockets in and around the Syrian capital that had remained under rebel or Islamic State group control earlier this year. 

The regime had long said that Daraa - the birthplace of the Syrian uprising - would be next on the list. 

The UN has warned that up to 750,000 people are at risk as a result of the week-old offensive in Daraa. At least 45,000 people have so far been displaced from their homes. 

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