Hospitals Gone, The Civilians are Stranded. Fear and Destruction Haunt Aleppo

Aftermath of Syria and ally attacks on Aleppo – hospitals destroyed – hundreds dead – truce proposal rejected by Syria.

No Functional Hospital in Rebel-Held Aleppo

Ever since the Syrian government and its Russian allies initiated a renewed bombing operation on eastern Aleppo, several hospitals have been damaged by multiple bombardments. Hundreds of people have lost their lives since Tuesday amid the latest airstrikes by Syrian and Russian forces.

The target of the latest airstrikes by Syria and allies seem to be hospitals, in particular, aimed at destroying the morale of the rebels with the apparent intent of cutting them off from hospitals and medical access – so it seems!

“I think the value of the hospital—it’s important medically but it’s more important psychologically. When people know there is a place where they can be treated and they feel safe somehow. When they know they’re all out of service, they panic. I think that’s what the regime is trying to do,” says Mohammad Yasser Tabbaa of the Syrian Expatriate Medical Association, a group supporting hospitals in rebel-held parts of Syria.

Smoke billows in the government-held side of west Aleppo, on November 20, 2016, following reported rocket fire by the opposition forces that hold the eastern part of the city. (AFP PHOTO/GEORGE OURFALIAN)
Smoke billows in the government-held side of west Aleppo, on November 20, 2016, following reported rocket fire by the opposition forces that hold the eastern part of the city. (AFP PHOTO/GEORGE OURFALIAN)

What the government and its allies seem to be oblivious of, is the fact that the common man; women and children included are suffering as a result. The World Health Organization (WHO) Sunday said no hospitals were functioning inside the besieged city, leaving more than 250,000 people with no access to trauma care and major surgeries.

However, while make-shift hospitals and wayside clinics might still be functional, none of them are fully equipped or staffed to handle the enormity of the aftermath of the air raids unleashed by the allied forces of Syria and Russia.

Airstrikes hit four hospitals in east Aleppo on Friday, leaving no functional hospital in the rebel-held part of the city where approximately 275,000 people live.

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

A damaged field hospital room is seen after airstrikes in a rebel held area
A damaged field hospital room is seen after airstrikes in a rebel held area. Photo: (REUTERS)

“The relentless bombing of East Aleppo by the Syrian regime in the last few days has now left hundreds of thousands of besieged civilians without access to food and to functioning hospitals,” the European Union’s humanitarian aid commissioner, Christos Stylianides, said.

At least eight children have died by rebel rocket fire that hit a school in government-held west Aleppo on Sunday, reported the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency. A family of six was killed in rebel-held eastern Aleppo’s al-Sakhour district in a regime barrel bomb attack, the monitoring group said.

On Sunday, Syrian President Bashar-al- Assad’s regime rejected a United Nations truce proposal which meant Aleppo would remain under opposition control if the rebels retreated from the city. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said the proposal was “completely rejected” as it would amount to a violation of “national sovereignty.”

The Foreign Minister also stressed that the governmental institutions in Aleppo “must be restored” as soon as rebel groups are expelled from the eastern part of the city. “Syria doesn’t accept leaving some 275,000 people in east Aleppo as hostages to 6,000 gunmen,” he said. De Mistura, however, made no remarks after meeting al-Moallem in Damascus.

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