Battle for Aleppo: ‘All hospitals are destroyed’

Officials tell Al Jazeera all medical facilities in city’s rebel-held east “have been taken out” as bombing intensifies.

All medical facilities in Syria’s rebel-held Aleppo have been destroyed, health officials and opposition activists have told Al Jazeera, as another day of ferocious government bombardment on the besieged city left dozens of people dead.

Air raids, barrel bombs and artillery fire killed at least 56 people on Saturday, volunteers with the White Helmets group told Al Jazeera. The rescuers, who operate in rebel-held parts of Syria, said they had been pulling bodies, including those of children, out of the rubble.

Babies in incubators rescued after Aleppo hospital attack

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based group monitoring the war, reported a lower death toll of 27 civilians.

The latest deaths came as health officials said that every hospital in the rebel-held east is now out of service – a statement also confirmed by the World Health Organization, according to Reuters news agency.

“They [health officials] say that they are specifically being targeted to make people give up. In the last few hours, two remaining hospitals have come under intense shelling by the regime,” Al Jazeera’s Osama Bin Javaid, reporting from Gaziantep, on the Turkish side of the Syria-Turkey border, said.

“Activists told us that these are specific targets and civilians have nowhere to go now as medical facilities have been taken out.”

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Dr Ahmed Mbayed, of the Canadian Medical Relief Organization, confirmed that all medical facilities in besieged Aleppo “are totally out of service”.

“The people are hopeless now. They don’t have any access to essential [medical] services in Aleppo,” he said from Gaziantep, adding that even warehouses with medical supplies had come under attack. 

White Helmets rescuers in Aleppo also told Al Jazeera that all their equipment and vehicles had been taken out by the shelling.

Syrian rescue volunteers pull a body from the rubble of a destroyed building in the Bab al-Nayrab neighbourhood of Aleppo on Saturday [AFP]
Syrian rescue volunteers pull a body from the rubble of a destroyed building in the Bab al-Nayrab neighbourhood of Aleppo on Saturday [AFP]

The city of Aleppo, once Syria’s commercial centre, has been divided since 2012, with the eastern half in rebel hands and the western half controlled by government forces.

More than 250,000 civilians are still trapped in the east, which is under near constant bombardment, with dwindling food supplies and extremely limited medical care.

READ MORE: In east Aleppo, there is no way out

Five days into a renewed government assault on the city’s opposition-held districts, the civilian death toll stood at least 92, according to the Observatory, and up to 150, according to Al Jazeera sources. 

“There’s barely a neighbourhood that has been spared in the east,” Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Observatory, told AFP news agency.

On Friday, an Al Jazeera crew witnessed the bombardment of a children’s hospital, which forced the facility’s staff to evacuate babies kept in incubators. 

According to the United Nations, medical supplies for the city’s besieged residents have now run out. The world body also said that there no agreement had been reached between the warring parties to allow an aid convoy to enter.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies