50,000 people with partial hospital access in latest airstrike on Aleppo medical infrastructure

 A damaged room in Atareb hospital. Photo courtesy of Atareb Facebook page.

AMMAN: More than two dozen airstrikes hit multiple areas in a rebel-held west Aleppo town, destroying an outdoor market and badly damaging the only hospital serving 50,000 people, local sources told Syria Direct on Monday.

“The Civil Defense instructed people to stay inside, keep their lights off and avoid walking in the streets,” Abdelkareem al-Omar, 28, an aid worker told Syria Direct on Monday from Atareb.

On Sunday night, “more than 26 airstrikes hit Atareb, killing 17 people and injuring dozens, the Civil Defense there said on its Facebook page on Monday.

Over 90 minutes of bombing, unidentified warplanes struck the hospital’s operating theater and primary-care clinics, sources said.

After the hospital was hit four times, the operations room is no longer functional, said Hasan Abeed, a doctor at the Atareb hospital.

“The hospital wasn’t completely destroyed but it needs to be repaired,” Abeed said. “The other departments in the hospital are damaged due a bombing that happened on Saturday, but they are still partially operating,” said Abeed.

On July 23 a plane targeted Atareb hospital, one of several airstrikes on civilian locations in Atareb this month, news website Enab Baladi reported.

 The Atareb market after the bombing. Photo courtesy of Atareb Facebook page. 

The bombings reduce medical access to native residents of Atareb and displaced Syrians from Aleppo, Hama and Homs, who also reside in the city.

Aleppo’s medical infrastructure is collapsing due to airstrikes on several hospitals and medical facilities in rebel-held areas this past month, making it almost impossible to provide medical treatment.

The regime is using the lack of medical treatment as “a weapon of war,” said Hasan Abeed, “by systematically targeting medical institutions.”

In late April, three missiles struck Atareb's Civil Defense station, killing five Civil Defense members and destroying all ambulances and fire trucks, Syria Direct reported at the time.

“There is no life in Atareb,” said aid worker al-Omar. “Sadness, despair, and fear fill the city.”

Waleed Khaled a-Noufal

Waleed a-Noufal was born in Ankhel in northern Daraa province. He attended high school in Ankhel but could not continue his study because of security reasons. Waleed worked as an activist in his local city council and the Umayya Media Center. In 2013, he moved to Jordan and finished his high school degree. Waleed wants to bring about a solution to the current crisis through his reporting. Follow Waleed on Twitter: @walid_ALnofal.

Mohammed Al-Haj Ali

Mohammed Al-Haj Ali, originally from Daraa, had completed his first year studying Broadcast Journalism at Damascus University before leaving Syria in August 2012.

Laila Mourad

Leila is from Damascus but moved to Jordan before the Syrian uprising began. She is an engineering student in Amman and hopes to help rebuild her country through journalism.

Jessica Page, Reporter/Translator

Jessica was a 2013-2014 Georgetown University Qatar Scholarship Program fellow in Doha, Qatar. She received her BA in both Arabic and International & Area Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. She has worked and studied in Jordan, Oman, and Qatar.

Kristen Demilio

Kristen Gillespie Demilio has more than 10 years of experience reporting from the Middle East while based in Amman. She regularly contributed to news outlets including CBS News Radio, NPR, The Jerusalem Report and PBS and is a graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism as well as the Institut Français des Etudes Arabes in Damascus.