Syria: Deadly air strike hits Idlib maternity hospital

Two killed and several wounded in air strike on maternity hospital in rebel-held part of Idlib, says Save the Children.

    At least two people have been killed and several, including babies, wounded, in an air strike on a maternity hospital in Syria's Idlib province, according to the international charity Save the Children, which supports the facility.

    The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said on Friday the hospital in the rebel-held town of Kafar Takharim was heavily damaged and left barely operational.

    Save the Children said the strike hit the front of the hospital building, at a time when two operations were under way and a woman was in labour. 

    "Several babies were injured when their incubators crashed to the floor, and a woman who was six months pregnant had her leg severed," Save the Children said in a statement.

    "Two other women have shrapnel wounds to the stomach and a number of patients and staff have suffered light injuries."

     

    A spokeswoman for the charity told Al Jazeera that the hospital "is the biggest in the area, serving over 1,300 women monthly".

    Save the Children also published a 15-second-long video from the hospital in the immediate aftermath of the attack, showing the level of destruction caused by the bombing. 

    It is not yet clear who was behind the air strike.

    The hospital, which was set up in June 2014, delivered about 340 babies in June [Save the Children]

    "Bombing a maternity hospital which is helping women living under the shadow of war to give birth safely is a shameful act, whether it was done intentionally or because due care was not taken to avoid civilian areas," Sonia Khush, Syria director for Save the Children, said.

    "There is no excuse, and unfortunately this is only the latest in a series of strikes on health facilities in Syria."

    The hospital, which was set up in June 2014, delivered about 340 babies in June, according to Save the Children.

    "Around 61 percent of the patients at the hospital are mothers," the spokeswoman said, and "39 percent are children."

    "This is the only hospital specialising in maternity and children in the northern western side of rural Idlib." 

    Friday's bombing was the latest in  a series of attacks targeting hospitals in Syria.

    Syrian government air strikes put four makeshift hospitals and a local blood bank in Aleppo out of action last week, according to local rescue workers and a monitor.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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