At least 19 people were killed in suspected Russian and Syrian air strikes in several districts in Idlib province, a local official of the Syrian Civil Defence told Al Jazeera.
“19 people were killed today. Khan Sheikhoun, Maaret al-Numaan, Jisr al-Shughour and other areas were targeted by suspected Russian and Syrian air strikes since the morning,” Hamid of the Civil Defence said on Thursday.
“In the suburbs of Maaret al-Numaan, al-Jamea hospital was hit,” he added.
|Medical facilities attacked in April|
The Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, is a volunteer rescue group that operates mostly in rebel-held territory in Syria.
Idlib’s health directorate reported that the strike on al-Jamea hospital killed at least three patients and injured four others.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) also reported that suspected Russian air strikes targeted Idlib and killed at least 16 people, including seven children.
The SOHR also said many of those killed in the attack were medical volunteers.
Syrian government helicopters dropped barrel bombs just outside the town of Khan Sheikhoun, the SOHR added.
“The regime and the Russians are trying to systematically target the remaining hospitals in Idlib to make life for people in liberated areas intolerable,” said Younis Abdul Rahim, a civil defence worker who visited both sites.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has repeatedly denied that his forces target hospitals or other emergency facilities. Russia, whose air force joined the war on his side in 2015, also denies targeting civilian infrastructure.
Rescue workers say that, although many field hospitals have been moved underground, that has not been enough to protect them from bombs they say have hit at least eight medical facilities since the start of the month.
A suspected chemical attack killed at least 87 people on April 4 in Khan Sheikhoun, and left at least 300 people injured or affected.
Most of Idlib province has been under rebel-control since 2015 and is regularly bombed by both Syrian and allied Russian warplanes.
In its latest report, the SOHR said at least 10,915 civilians, including 2,393 children, were killed in government air strikes and barrel bombs dropped by helicopters in the past 30 months.
In addition to that, 64,000 others were injured in these attacks.
As the Syrian conflict enters its seventh year, more than 465,000 people have been killed in the fighting, more than a million injured and over 12 million Syrians – half the country’s prewar population – have been displaced from their homes.
With additional reporting by Diana al Rifai: @D_R_23