Major hospital in Syria's Aleppo shuts because of bombing

May 05, 2015

One of two major hospitals in Syria's violence-torn northern city, Aleppo, has suspended its operations after it was bombed at least twice last week, the international aid organization Doctors Without Borders said.

The city, once Syria's commercial hub, has been divided between government and opposition forces since mid-2012, and fighting there has raged since.

Government warplanes have dropped explosives-filled barrels on rebel-held neighborhoods there, killing thousands while Syrian rebels have shelled residential areas in government-held parts of the contested city in the past, killing hundreds.

On Sunday, a Syrian government air raid struck near a school in Aleppo, killing at least seven people including children.

Doctors Without Borders said amid intense fighting, hospitals and medical centers are often targeted to make the population suffer.

The hospital in the eastern district of Sakhour, which is controlled by rebels, provides critical services for over 40,000 people. In March alone, the hospital performed more than 300 trauma surgeries, the group said.

It said doctors are currently assessing the damage inflicted to several parts of the hospital building.

"It is unclear if or when the hospital will be operative again," Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym MSF, said.

Activists said government aircraft dropped barrel bombs in Sakhour district on Thursday. Pictures posted on social media showed doctors posing before what appears to be debris from the severely damaged hospital building.

The hospital was closed for several weeks in 2014, also following damages from strikes.

"These new attacks on medical infrastructures are intolerable," said Raquel Ayora, MSF's director of operations.

The group said another medical center in Aleppo targeted in the violence has also shut down since April 17.

Syria's health care system has collapsed in the civil war, now in its fifth year. More than 220,000 people have been killed and more than 1 million wounded since 2011.

Report from: Daily Star Lebanon:

Photo: civil defence member looks for survivors at a damaged site after a barrel bomb hit a school and a residential building in Seif al-Dawla neighborhood of Aleppo May 3, 2015. (REUTERS/Hosam Katan)