After a brief period of relative calm, residents trapped in rebel-held east Aleppo are once again fearful for their lives as ferocious shelling hits schools and medical facilities.
Five hospitals in east Aleppo and the surrounding rebel-held countryside, including a children’s hospital, have been hit and damaged in the last 48 hours since Russia announced a new offensive targeting Idlib and Homs provinces.
The Russian moratorium on strikes on east Aleppo is still in place, a Kremlin spokesperson said on Wednesday – but whether the bombs are dropped by Russian or Syrian government planes, the result for the people on the ground is the same.
The huge new offensive means “there are more warplanes than birds in the sky”, teacher and rebel activist Abdulkami al-Hamdo said via a messaging app on Thursday. The thundering of low-flying jets upsets his infant daughter. “It feels like they’re right over our heads,” he said. “It is our Judgement Day.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday that Syrian air strikes and shelling killed 25 civilians in eastern districts of Aleppo The bombardment hit at least six rebel-held neighbourhoods, the monitoring group said.
This followed reported strikes on Wednesday that hit two hospitals, a blood bank and close to a school, killing 21 people, the group said.
“The supplies for medical facilities will finish soon – in not more than two weeks,” Dr Hatem, the director of the badly damaged Bayan Children’s Hospital said, describing how he and staff had to shelter in the hospital’s basement for hours while helicopters and jets overhead dropped barrel bombs.
The White Helmets, civil defence volunteers, put the death toll across Aleppo province from the first 48 hours of the bombardment at 87, but expected the number to rise as more injured arrived at hospitals throughout the night and the already fatigued medical facilities struggle to cope.