Major Aleppo hospital bombed for third time in days

Bombs struck one of the largest hospitals in east Aleppo, Syria, today for the third time in less than a week.

The hospital, known as M10, operates underground and is the largest trauma and ICU center in eastern Aleppo. It was hit by bunker-buster bombs, which can destroy underground structures and hurt people sheltering underground, according to the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), which supports the hospital.

The same hospital was also attacked Saturday and last Wednesday. Every time, it was forced to shut down due to extensive damage. The hospital was also closed at the time of today’s attack, but staff and technicians were inside, trying to repair the facility and protect the equipment, according to SAMS.

“Our initial reports are telling us that three maintenance workers were killed and other staff remain under the rubble,” SAMS spokesperson Caroline Philhower told ABC News. “We are still learning more information as the attack was very recent.”

On Saturday morning, the same hospital was hit by seven airstrikes, including at least two barrel bombs, killing two patients and injuring 13, according to SAMS, which also noted that the hospital was intentionally targeted and was forced to close. Patients were transferred to other hospitals. Warplanes continued to drop bombs, including phosphorus and cluster bombs, until 1 a.m. local time, forcing medical personnel to seek refuge in a nearby shelter, according to SAMS.

A doctor at another east Aleppo hospital that has received many patients from medical facilities that are out of service due to attacks said they are even busier than usual.

“At any moment, we can receive wounded and injured in addition to the patients we have already,” Hamza Khatib, the doctor, told ABC News.

Fewer than 30 doctors are now left working in Aleppo city, down from 35 several days ago, a senior official of the United Nations health agency said.

“There has been a reduction in the number of health workers able to stay at their posts, and those who did are exhausted, drained physically and emotionally,” Rick Brennan, the Director of Emergency Risk Management and Humanitarian Response of the World Health Organization, told reporters in Geneva on Friday.

Up to 275,000 people are living under siege in east Aleppo, Brennan said. The blockade means the eastern part of the city lacks medical supplies, equipment and fuel to the remaining health facilities, and no patients are able to get out. Children and other civilians are being treated on the floor in hospital corridors and there are not enough room in the intensive care units, Brennan said.

More than 800 injured people in Aleppo, including many children, a large number of them with life-threatening injuries, are in need of access to urgent health care, according to WHO, which has called for them to be let out of the besieged area and treated.

The Syrian military has urged rebels in east Aleppo to surrender. Syrian and Russian airstrikes on Aleppo intensified after the Syrian military declared an offensive against eastern Aleppo on Sept. 22 — a few days after announcing that a U.S.-Russia-brokered ceasefire had ended. Locals and activists say bunker-buster bombs and chemical weapons have been used, killing children, health personnel, aid workers and members of the Syrian Civil Defense.

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