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Aleppo hospital in regime-held area struck by rocket fire

Al-Dabbeet hospital is the latest medical facility hit by the fierce fighting [AFP]

Date of publication: 4 May, 2016

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At least three people were killed Tuesday in rocket fire on a maternity hospital in a regime-held district of Aleppo, the sixth hospital to be struck in two weeks.

Rocket fire struck a hospital in a government-controlled neighbourhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo killing three women and wounding another 17 people on Tuesday, state media reported.

The rockets hit al-Dabbeet maternity hospital in the Muhafaza district, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which said Islamist rebels fired the missiles.

The Observatory said rebels had fired rockets and shells on government-controlled western districts of the city throughout the day, killing at least 16 people and wounding 80 others.

Al-Dabbeet hospital is the sixth medical facility to be hit by the fierce fighting in Aleppo over the past two weeks that has left over 250 people dead.

Over the past few days, regime bombardment and airstrikes have hit several medical facilities in rebel-held districts in Aleppo.

Al-Quds hospital, supported by Doctors Without Borders and the International Committee of the Red Cross, was reduced to rubble by regime airstrikes last week, killing at least 50 people killed, including medical staff and children.

Over the weekend, four more medical facilities were hit by the regime’s indiscriminate aerial bombardment of the beleaguered city.

"In the past two days, four clinics were completely destroyed by Syrian regime and Russian airstrikes," activist Mohammed al-Halbi told The New Arab on Sunday.

"The medical centre in Bustan al-Qasr area was hit by crude barrel bombs which destroyed its equipment and medical supplies, forcing the centre to shut down," Halbi said.

"The shelling also hit al-Marja neighbourhood south-eastern Aleppo, destroying its roof and walls and setting fire to most of its medical equipment," he added.

"The airstrikes hit a pharmaceutical warehouse in the city, destroying the drugs and ambulance vehicles parked outside," Halbi told The New Arab.

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday condemned the attack on al-Dabbeet hospital, saying that the missile appears to have been fired from rebel-controlled territory.

Kerry said the US will not accept violence against civilians, whether it is by the Syrian government or by Western-backed opposition groups.

Kerry warned Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad of "repercussions" if his regime flouts a new ceasefire being negotiated with Moscow for the battered city of Aleppo.

"If Assad does not adhere to this, there will clearly be repercussions and one of them may be the total destruction of the ceasefire and they go back to war," Kerry told reporters.

"I don't think that Russia wants that. I don't think that Assad is going to benefit from that," he said.

"There may be even other repercussions that are being discussed but that is for the future to determine."

A February 27 truce between the Syrian regime and non-jihadist rebels raised hopes for efforts to resolve the five-year conflict.

But it has all but collapsed amid renewed fighting, the worst of it in Aleppo where a surge in violence has claimed more than 270 lives since April 22.

Washington and Moscow are now working together to include Aleppo in a freeze in fighting aimed at bolstering the broader truce brokered by both world powers.

"The cessation of hostilities was put in place precisely to give the people on the ground who are innocently caught between these warring factions some breather, some ability to be able to be safe and work this out at the negotiating table," Kerry said.

"That is why we are working urgently right now to reaffirm the cessation of hostilities nationwide."

Russia said Tuesday it hoped a new ceasefire could be announced within hours for Aleppo.

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