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Monday 20 January 2020

Children and hospital staff killed in Syria air strikes

Civilians look for fuel and water in the ravaged city of Aleppo (AP)
Civilians look for fuel and water in the ravaged city of Aleppo (AP)

A series of air strikes on opposition areas in Syria's northern Aleppo province have killed at least 18 people, including children and hospital staff, activists and rescue workers said.

The strikes hit the only hospital for women and children in the town of Kafr Hamra, killing two staff including a nurse. Syrian Civil Defence officials said they pulled 10 people alive from the rubble.

Kafr Hamra is close to the northern front line in the deeply divided city of Aleppo, where government troops have sealed the main route into opposition areas, effectively trapping nearly 300,000 residents.

The opposition fighters launched a counter-offensive last week, breaching the siege from the southern front. That road remains under fire, and the UN has asked for a ceasefire to allow aid into the area.

Health facilities have been frequently targeted in the civil war in Syria. Aid groups have said the month of July was one of the worst since the war began in 2011, with 43 facilities in opposition areas partially or totally destroyed.

Despite calls for a ceasefire and a promise from Russia of a three-hour respite to allow in humanitarian aid, there has been no let-up in the violence.

Other air strikes hit a market area in the south-western Aleppo province town of Urem al-Kubra, killing at least six people, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war in Syria.

Urem al-Kubra lies on the road linking Aleppo to the northern rebel-controlled province of Idlib, which has also witnessed intense bombings.

In the northern Aleppo countryside, at least 10 people were killed, including children and women, when air strikes hit the village of Hayan. It was not clear what the target was but videos shared by activists of the scene shows bodies of women and children strewn on the side of the road as frantic locals scramble to pick them up.

The Local Co-ordination Committees said collective open air Friday prayers were called off in Idlib because of the intensity of the air strikes.


The Syrian Civil Defence said one of its centres in the rebel-held part of Aleppo had also been hit. Pictures on the group's Facebook page showed serious damage to one of its vehicles and crumbling walls.

The volunteer group said one of its most well-known members died after being buried under the rubble following a Wednesday air strike in the Ramouseh area, recently seized by rebels from government forces.

Khaled Harah had recovered a live baby from under the rubble of a building in Aleppo's Sukkari neighborhood in 2014 following a 16-hour rescue effort. "It was a miracle," said Bibars Mishal, a colleague of Mr Harah in Aleppo. He was later invited to the UN Security Council to testify about the violence in Aleppo.


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