10 dead after strikes on rebel-held hospitals in Syria

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Air strikes on two hospitals in rebel-held northwestern Syria on Thursday left 10 people dead including two babies in incubators, a monitor said.

They were among 19 people killed as a result of strikes across rebel-held Idlib province on Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

An AFP correspondent in the village of Deir Sharqi, where one of the hospitals was hit, saw extensive damage and wards buried in rubble.

It was the third time in less than a week that medical facilities in the province, controlled by rebels and extremist groups, had been hit in air strikes.

“Apparently Russian aircraft... carried out four successive raids at dawn on a hospital on the outskirts” of Deir Sharqi, it said.

“Six civilians in the emergency department were killed, including two babies in incubators, after the destruction of the facility’s oxygen generator” which was keeping them alive, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

The AFP correspondent saw at least one destroyed incubator, rooms and corridors filled with rubble, and dusty or damaged beds and equipment.

In one room, a wall had collapsed on a medicine shelf and in another, medical supplies were strewn across the room.

Later in the day, four medical staff from a dispensary in Maarzita, in southern Idlib province, were also killed in what were likely Russian strikes, the Observatory said.

A further nine people including five children were killed in strikes on various other areas of Idlib province on Thursday, it said.

On Saturday, an air raid on another hospital in Idlib had wounded five people, the Observatory said, but it could not say whether the raid was Syrian or Russian.

Another hospital was hit Tuesday in northwestern Idlib, putting it out of service, Abdel Rahman said.

The Britain-based Observatory relies on a network of sources inside Syria and says it determines whose planes carry out raids according to type, location, flight patterns and munitions used.

Idlib is regularly bombed by the air forces of Syria and its Russian ally.

More than 320,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.