AMMAN: A plane of unknown provenance struck the only ambulance station in rebel-controlled west Aleppo, destroying all nine ambulances that served one million residents, the director of the station and paramedics told Syria Direct on Tuesday.
Three reported Russian air strikes hit the ambulances at 3am Monday morning, damaging nine ambulances “that are now out of service,” said Tayseer al-Hamood, the director of the station, which lies 25 km southwest of Aleppo city.
Syria Direct could not verify the source of the airstrikes.
The Institute for the Study of War estimated in a report published on July 14 that Russian planes struck Aleppo 20-30 times between June 18and July 13.
West Aleppo is controlled by a handful of FSA-affiliated groups.
Established in 2014 by the opposition Health Directorate in Aleppo, the ambulance station had 30 staff members, including two guards, eight drivers and 14 nurses. No one was killed or injured in the attack.
One of the nine ambulances destroyed in the strike. Photo courtesy of Tayseer al-Hamood.
“We expected a strike at any moment,” said al-Hamood, since local monitors had warned the ambulance station staff that planes were headed towards a medical facility in Reef al-Muhandaseen, just a handful of kilometers from the ambulance station. Syria Direct previously reported on Syrian monitors who track aircraft to warn civilians of impending strikes.
The regime and Russia “bomb anything that can serve the people of Aleppo, even ambulances, whose role is to treat the injured after they are bombed,” said Um al-Petra, a paramedic at the station.
The ambulances, which carried defibrillators and emergency drugs, served both civilians and military personnel, “transporting injured people from bombing sites or their houses to hospitals, or between different hospitals and to border crossings,” said al-Hamood.
All of west Aleppo’s nine ambulances are destroyed, and paramedics must now rely on three Civil Defense vehicles to transport injured people in west Aleppo, south Aleppo and northern Idlib province, said al-Hamood.
Inside one of the destroyed ambulances. Photo courtesy of Tayseer al-Hamood.
“We are going do what we can with what’s available to us,” said Saeed Khalasi, another paramedic at the station.
Even before the strikes, ambulances were hard to come by, said Khalasi.
After the regime cut off Castello Road, the supply route for Aleppo, “we entered a new phase of suffering—entering supplies and spare parts for ambulances.”
The paramedics will also start using civilian cars, said al-Hamood, until “we get funding for more ambulances.”