AMMAN: Five Russian airstrikes destroyed the only hospital in a north Aleppo town Tuesday night, killing four patients and leaving 400,000 people without any medical facility or ambulances, the head of the hospital told Syria Direct on Wednesday.

“Sick patients and injured people are being transferred to hospitals in pick up trucks, vans, service cars and some residents' cars to hospitals in neighboring cities, ” Abdelmanaam al-Shaykh, the head of the al-Reeh al-Mursala Hospital in Darat Azza told Syria Direct on Wednesday. The nearest functioning medical facility is 50km away, added al-Shaykh.

 Al-Reeh al-Mursala Hospital after the airstrikes. Photo courtesy of Abdelmanaam al-Shaykh.

Russian planes pounded al-Reeh al-Mursala Hospital with five airstrikes, killing five patients and injuring several medical staff, said al-Shaykh, who is also a doctor. Darat Azza was hit with an estimated 13 airstrikes on Tuesday, local media reported, a number consistent with Syria Direct’s reporting.

The Reeh was the only fully operating hospital in Darat Azza city, located 30km northwest of Aleppo city. The facility served 400,000 people, half of whom were displaced residents who fled there after the intensified battles in and around Aleppo that broke the regime’s blockade on the rebel-held eastern part of the city.

The airstrikes set the hospital aflame and caused the building’s roof, walls, and machines to collapse, rendering the facility inoperable, said al-Shakh.

 A hospital vehicle on fire. Photo courtesy of The Media Center in Darat Azza.

Apart from damage to the actual building, the strikes destroyed five electricity generators, two ambulances, a service car, three doctors’ cars, water tanks, fuel, the pharmacy, the kitchen, the operations theatre and a refrigerator.

The only other hospital in the city was bombed on February 26 and is not equipped to treat patients. “It only handles emergency cases,” said Ahmed al-Rasheed, the head of the The Media Center in Darat Azza, which has been covering the airstrike story.

Most of Reeh’s patients “are being transferred 50km away to Bab al-Hawa Hospital,” said Hussam al-Halabi, a citizen journalist in the city.

Pregnant women, however, are being transferred 9km away to a hospital in north Idlib countryside, said al-Halabi.

Among those killed in the airstrikes were a teenage boy, a 80-year-old man and small child said al-Shaykh.