Air raid hits children’s hospital in Syria’s Aleppo


An air raid has hit a children’s hospital in Syria’s rebel-held east Aleppo, forcing medical staff to evacuate patients, including several newborn babies still in incubators.

The moment of the attack on Friday was captured by an Al Jazeera crew, including journalist Amro Halabi, who was reporting on survivors of previous Syrian and Russian bombing raids on rebel-held parts of the city.

Halabi broadcast scenes of a man and his two children, who suffered breathing problems from an earlier attack on Friday, as the room turned dark immediately after a loud explosion.

Battle for Aleppo: Syrian forces intensify air campaign

Nurses and other medical staff were seen scrambling through the dark and trying to rush the patients out of the badly damaged hospital as children cried out for help.

In another room, nurses grabbed babies from damaged incubators, with one staff member using a cloth to protect a visibly undernourished baby while trying to console a woman, also carrying a baby.

The nurses later moved the babies to another room, putting them on the floor next to each other. At least one of the infants was seen with medical tubes still attached.

Medical staff told Al Jazeera that all of the babies survived the attack.

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.

Hospitals move underground

Earlier, it was reported that at least 49 people were killed in Aleppo in a bombardment that started late on Thursday, according to witnesses and activists.

Friday was the fourth day of renewed bombing raids by Syrian government jets on eastern Aleppo.

The onslaught began as Syria’s ally Russia announced its own offensive on the rebel-controlled Idlib province in the country’s north and Homs province in the centre.

Since then, more than 100 people have been killed across northern Syria.

A hospital in another Aleppo neighbourhood was also bombed on Thursday night, according to media reports.

Only four of seven hospitals are still operating in the district, according to Adham Sahloul, of the Syrian American Medical Society, which supports health facilities in Aleppo.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said dozens of air raids, artillery and barrel bombs hit 18 different neighbourhoods of eastern Aleppo.

Government bombings have targeted neighbourhoods with medical facilities, including the children’s hospital and a nearby clinic that has one of the few remaining intensive care units in eastern Aleppo, the Observatory said.

Many hospitals and clinics in the besieged area have moved their operations underground after months of relentless bombardment.

The World Health Organization said it recorded 126 attacks on health facilities in 2016, a common tactic over the five years of Syria’s war.

Russia and the Syrian government deny targeting hospitals.