Clinic hit in Syria’s Aleppo amid outcry over hospital strike

Clinic hit in Syria’s Aleppo amid outcry over hospital strike

ALEPPO – Agence France-Presse
Clinic hit in Syria’s Aleppo amid outcry over hospital strike

AFP photo

Regime aircraft pounded rebel areas of Syria’s second city of Aleppo on April 29, hitting a clinic just days after a strike destroyed a hospital, killing two doctors and sparking an international outcry.

More than 200 civilians have been killed in Aleppo over the past week as rebels have pounded government-held neighbourhoods with rocket and artillery fire and the regime has hit rebel areas with air raids.

The bloodshed has brought a Feb. 27 ceasefire between government forces and non-jihadist rebels to the verge of collapse and raised fears of a humanitarian crisis in the northern metropolis and other battleground areas.

A nurse was among several people wounded when the air strike hit the clinic in the rebel-held Al-Marja neighborhood on April 29, the civil defense known as the White Helmets said.

The clinic, which had been providing dental services and treatment for chronic illnesses for about five years, was badly damaged.

At least two civilians were killed in the strikes on April 29, one of them a child, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. 

The rebels bombarded government-held areas with rocket and artillery fire, killing three people as they were leaving a mosque after the main weekly prayers, state television reported.

In rebel areas, Friday prayers were cancelled because of the air strikes.

April 28 was the deadliest day in Aleppo since the violence flared last week, with 54 civilians killed, according to the Observatory.

“It is the worst day in Aleppo in five years. The regime did not spare a single neighborhood,” one resident told AFP.  

It was the second time this week that an air strike had hit one of the few medical facilities still operating in rebel areas.

Late on April 27, air strikes hit the Al-Quds hospital, which was supported by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross, and a nearby block of flats in the Sukkari neighborhood, killing 30 people, including one of the last pediatricians still working in the east of the city.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed “outrage” over the hit on the hospital, saying it appeared to be “a deliberate strike on a known medical facility.”  

He called on Moscow to press its Damascus ally “to stop attacking civilians, medical facilities, and first responders, and to abide fully by the cessation of hostilities.”