Regime artillery fire killed five civilians including a child when it hit a hospital entrance in Syria’s last major opposition bastion of Idlib on Sunday, a war monitor said.
The attack on the northwestern town of Atareb came despite a Russian-Turkish ceasefire since March 2020 supposed to protect the wider extremist-held stronghold.
It “hit the courtyard and main entrance of the hospital inside a cave, killing five civilians including a child and a hospital employee,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Eleven others were wounded including healthcare staff, said the Britain-based monitoring group’s head Rami Abdel Rahman.
The Idlib region is home to 2.9 million people, of whom two thirds have been displaced from their homes by conflict, the United Nations says.
The region on the border with Turkey is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which is led by members of Syria’s former al-Qaeda affiliate, but several opposition groups are also present.
The ceasefire brokered by opposition backer Turkey and regime ally Russia last March stemmed a months-long regime military offensive on the bastion that killed hundreds of civilians and displaced more than a million people from their homes.
It has since largely held despite repeated violations including Russian air strikes on the region, according to the Observatory.
Medical facilities have been hit multiple times in the Idlib region during the war.
Between 2016 and 2019, the World Health Organization documented up to 337 attacks on healthcare sites in Syria’s northwest.
The civil war has killed more than 388,000 people and displaced millions at home and abroad since starting in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.
Seventy percent of healthcare workers have fled Syria since the start of the conflict, while after years of bombardment only 58 percent of hospitals remain fully functional, the UN says.
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