Eastern Aleppo: 23 Attacks on Hospitals Since July; No Hospital Left Undamaged

MSF/Ghaith Yaqout Al-Murjan

At least 377 people killed over the past two weeks in fiercest bombings since the beginning of the war

Amman/New York, October 7, 2016—As eastern Aleppo witnesses the fiercest bombing campaign since the beginning of the Syrian war, access to health care has become extremely limited, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today. Seeking medical care is a danger in itself, with at least 23 recorded attacks on eastern Aleppo’s eight remaining hospitals since the siege began in July.

Both of eastern Aleppo’s two main surgical medical facilities—supported by MSF and other organizations—have been damaged on five occasions, leaving one facility out of service since October 1. In the past two weeks alone, the bombing campaign has claimed at least 377 lives, according to the Directorate of Health, which only registers casualties that are confirmed at hospital sites. Many of the wounded are being treated at homes and elsewhere and are therefore not registered.

“The situation is unbearable,” said Carlos Francisco, MSF’s head of mission in Syria. “The few remaining doctors with capability to save lives are also confronting death. Only a few days ago, the manager of one of the health centers we support and his whole family, including kids, were killed by a barrel bomb.”

Read: Bombs, Shells Hit Four More Hospitals in Damascus Area

All eight hospitals in eastern Aleppo are currently overwhelmed with high numbers of war-wounded patients. People are literally dying on the floors of the facilities. In an area with a population of approximately 250,000, only seven professionals remain who are capable of performing surgeries on war-wounded patients.

“There are a lot of wounded people because the bombs are falling in busy areas—crowded streets, bread queues, or the queues where aid is being distributed,” said Dr. Abu Waseem, the manager of a surgical hospital supported by MSF.

Completely isolated by the siege, people throughout eastern Aleppo are suffering from a lack of basic goods. Fuel has also been depleted, which has an added impact on both ambulances and hospitals. “The Syrian and Russian governments have taken this battle to a new level,” said Pablo Marco, MSF’s operations manager in the Middle East. “The whole of eastern Aleppo is being targeted. Hundreds of civilians are being massacred; their lives have turned into hell.”

MSF supports eight hospitals in Aleppo city. It runs six medical facilities across northern Syria and supports more than 150 health centers and hospitals across the country, many of them in besieged areas.

The photos were taken on October 5 in east Aleppo. They show the exteriors of the M10 hospital, the main trauma centre, which is supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The facility was heavily damaged by shelling and forced to suspend activities on Wednesday September 28. On October 1 it was damaged again and went out of service and two days later, while under rehabilitation, it was hit yet another time by bombs and a number of maintenance workers were killed.
MSF/Ghaith Yaqout Al-Murjan