The forces of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad continued bombing rebel-held areas of Aleppo on Friday, striking a medical clinic and killing two doctors just days after destroying a hospital in the city.
The clinic, which has been offering dental services and treating patients with chronic illnesses for approximately five years, was badly damaged by the air strike, AFP reported. The White Helmets, a local civil defense force, said several people were wounded, including a nurse.
An AFP photographer said he heard nearly a dozen air raids within the span of a few minutes on Friday. At least two civilians, including a child, were killed during the assault, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“The planes didn’t sleep and didn’t let us sleep either,” one local told AFP. “The earth is shaking beneath our feet.”
The Assad regime shelled the al-Quds hospital in Aleppo on Wednesday, killing dozens of people, including the city’s last pediatrician. A local rescue unit said it was still working to pull bodies from the rubble on Thursday evening. The hospital was supported by Doctors Without Borders and the International Committee for the Red Cross.
— AFP news agency (@AFP) April 29, 2016
“This devastating attack has destroyed a vital hospital in Aleppo, and the main referral center for pediatric care in the area,” Muskilda Zancada, the head of Doctors Without Borders’s Syria program, said of Wednesday’s attack. “Where is the outrage among those with the power and obligation to stop this carnage?”
Over 200 civilians have been killed in Aleppo during the military escalation between government and rebel forces in the past week. According to Syrian state television, rebels attacked government-held territory with rockets and artillery fire, killing three worshippers as they were exiting a mosque.
Jan Egeland, chairman of the UN’s Task Force on Humanitarian Access in Syria, said on Thursday that Aleppo has suffered a “catastrophic deterioration” within the past 24 to 48 hours. “I could not in any way express how high the stakes are for the next hours and days,” he emphasized.
UN envoy Staffan de Mistura called on the U.S. and Russia to work to save the ceasefire, saying it was “barely alive.”
In February, as Assad’s forces advanced on Aleppo with the aid of Iranian troops and Russian air strikes, the Washington Post editorial board said Secretary of State John Kerry and the Obama administration have been “enabling…war crimes” by “offering nothing but rhetoric.”
The editorial noted that while the U.S. and Russia managed to pass UN Security Council resolution 2254, which called for an immediate end to sieges and the bombing of civilians in Syria, the use of these tactics has continued.
While the resolution also calls for the establishment of a transitional government in Syria, the Assad regime has ruled out the possibility of the dictator’s departure, and a top adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reiterated earlier this month that Assad’s removal from power is a “red line” for Tehran.
In addition to Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officials, Hezbollah forces, and Iraqi Shiite militias, Iran recently deployed special forces to Syria to further assist Assad. A recent analysis in The New York Times described Assad as “the ultimate survivor” whose savvy regime refuses to compromise, excels at stalling, and relies on both Iran, its “insurance card,” and Russia for support.
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