Syria army advances as outrage mounts over hospital raid

Syria army advances as outrage mounts over hospital raid

Aleppo (Syria): Syrian regime forces advanced today in Aleppo after Russia unleashed dozens of strikes, even as condemnation kept pouring in over the bombing of the main hospital in the city’s rebel-held east.

The devastating five-year war in Syria has ravaged second city Aleppo, once the country’s economic hub but now torn apart between government troops and rebel forces.

The army of President Bashar al-Assad announced a major push on September 22 to capture Aleppo’s opposition-held east and has gained ground in the city with the help of its ally Moscow.

Dozens of Russian air strikes pounded battlefronts in the devastated city overnight, according to AFP’s correspondent and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said the raids “helped regime forces to advance in the north of the city,” where they reached the outskirts of the opposition-held Al- Heluk district.

If loyalist fighters seize Al-Heluk, Bustan al-Basha and Sakhur – all rebel-controlled neighbourhoods in Aleppo city’s north – they will confine opposition factions to a small section of the city’s southeast.

But Assad’s Russian-backed military campaign in Aleppo has sparked international outrage after a series of air strikes on civilian infrastructure, including most recently on the largest hospital in the city’s east.

Two barrel bombs hit the M10 hospital yesterday, according to the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), which supports the facility.

United Nations aid chief Stephen O’Brien fiercely criticised the attack and called today for immediate action to end the “living hell” of civilians in Aleppo’s east.

“The health care system in eastern Aleppo is all but obliterated. Medical facilities are being hit one by one,” O’Brien wrote.

He said the latest indiscriminate bombings subjected eastern Aleppo’s resident to “a level of savagery that no human should have to endure.” “The clock is ticking. Stop the carnage now,” O’Brien added.

At the bombed hospital, a journalist saw bloodstained hospital beds and dented equipment lying in disarray beneath blown-out windows.

“The hospital is being destroyed! SOS, everyone!” said SAMS radiologist and hospital administrator Mohammad Abu Rajab in an audio message distributed to journalists.

M10 had already been hit on Wednesday along with the second-largest hospital in the area, M2. That bombardment badly damaged the two facilities and left only six fully functional hospitals in east Aleppo, according to SAMS.