Saturday 1 October 2016

Renewed shelling stops work at major Syrian hospital

Published 05/05/2015 | 14:04

A man holds an injured boy after what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad Credit: Hosam Katan
A man holds an injured boy after what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad Credit: Hosam Katan

One of the main hospitals in Syria has been forced to close after repeated shelling, a humanitarian group said.

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Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said the Al-Sakhour hospital, which serves around 400,000 people in the Northern city of Aleppo, has halted all activities after being targeted twice last week by shelling and airstrikes.

"It is unclear when or if the hospital will be operative again as it was severely damaged,” an MSF statement said.

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The hospital's staff are Syrian but it receives medical equipment from MSF every three months.

Once Syria's economic powerhouse, Aleppo city was been split between Government and opposition forces, who regularly exchange blind fire with one another.

Bombed at least twice on consecutive days last week, the al Sakhour hospital is one of the two existing hospitals in the area and provided critical life-saving operations to an estimated population of around 400,000 people.

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In March alone, the hospital admitted 2,444 patients and performed more than 300 trauma surgeries.

MSF confirmed reports that two medical facilities and an ambulance have been the target of rockets and barrel bombs in the last two weeks.

“We renew our appeal to the warring parties to respect civilians, health facilities and medical staff,” said Jane-Ann McKenna, Director of MSF in Ireland. “These new attacks on medical infrastructures are intolerable,” she added.

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In June 2014 this facility already had to close for several weeks due to the extensive damage to its structure after being targeted by strikes.

MSF operates six medical facilities inside Syria and directly supports more than 100 clinics, health posts and field hospitals.

The group has been forced to rein in its efforts in the war-torn country since it has no authorisation to operate in government-controlled areas and no viable go-betweens with representatives of the complex rebel opposition.

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