Another unclaimed airstrike knocks out children's clinic in west Aleppo countryside

AMMAN: The only specialized children’s hospital in the opposition-held west Aleppo countryside is out of commission on Monday, one day after a spate of purported Russian airstrikes destroyed “90 percent” of the facility.

Shortly after noon on Sunday, five vacuum missiles reportedly slammed into the al-Huda Hospital, located 10km northwest of Aleppo city in the town of al-Hoor, a physician present at the time of the attack told Syria Direct. Its clinic for children, which included four neo-natal incubators for premature infants, was destroyed.

 Al-Huda Hospital on Monday. Photo courtesy of Fadi a-Shami.

The strikes “demolished the facility, ambulances and the children’s wing,” the only of its kind in the entire west Aleppo countryside, said Dr. Abu Sham al-Halabi.

The al-Huda Hospital previously admitted 300 to 500 patients daily, including around 60 children. As of Monday, parents of children in need of medical care have few options beyond attempting to cross into Turkey, something that is “very difficult” as Turkish border guards only allow entry to “40 patients per day,” said al-Halabi.

Hospital workers and local pro-opposition media outlets reported that a Russian aircraft conducted the strikes on al-Huda, a claim Syria Direct could not independently confirm. Neither Syrian nor Russian state media commented on the airstrikes.

 A destroyed clinic at al-Huda Hospital on Monday. Photo courtesy of Fadi a-Shami.

The strikes come amidst nearby fighting between Syrian government forces and Hay’at Tahrir a-Sham (HTS), a rebel coalition led by former Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fatah a-Sham (JFS).

A nationwide ceasefire brokered by Turkey and Russia last December does not include JFS, formerly known as Jabhat a-Nusra, Russian state media agency TASS reported. Syrian regime, Russian and American aircraft have repeatedly targeted areas under the JFS’s control in recent months. 

Bahira al-Zarier

Bahira is from Damascus. She studied business and marketing before moving to Jordan in 2013. She did volunteer work in support of many refugee organizations before joining Syria Direct.

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.