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Bakery, hospitals hit in Russia-backed air strikes in Aleppo

Representative picture: Here, medics inspect the damage outside a field hospital after an airstrike in Aleppo, Syria on September 28. Photograph: (Reuters)

Reuters Beirut Governorate, Lebanon Sep 28, 2016, 11.37 AM (IST)

Heavy bombardments in rebel-held eastern Aleppo struck two major hospitals and a bakery early on Wednesday, as Syrian government forces backed by Russia stepped up efforts to retake the whole city.

AFP said the intensive care units and trauma facilities of two hospitals — M2 and M10 — had been hit leaving only six major hospitals in the city functional.

At least six people were killed after being hit in artillery shelling on the bakery in the al-Maadi neighbourhood, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict. 

The attack on the bakery took place around 3 am as people lined up to collect bread, residents told Reuters.

The attack on the two hospitals happened around 4 am (0100 GMT), putting them temporarily out of service, the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), the medical organisation that supports them, told AFP. 

"Two patients died. We are still trying to figure out if it was directly because of the attack or because treatment was cut off," said Adham Sahloul of the SAMS. 

Three employees — an ambulance driver, a nurse and an accountant — were injured in the second hospital.

"There are only six hospitals currently operational now that the M2 and M10 have been temporarily taken out of service," Sahoul said.

"One warplane targeted both of them directly," he added, while describing the bombings as "deliberate".

The warplane flew over us and directly started dropping its missiles on this hospital...around 4 am," Mohammad Abu Rajab, a radiologist at M10, the largest trauma hospital in the city's rebel-held sector, told Reuters. "The rubble fell in on the patients in the intensive care unit (ICU)."

The strikes also hit the hospital's oxygen and power generators and patients were transferred to another hospital in the area, medical workers at the M10 hospital told Reuters. 

Over 250,000 civilians are believed to be trapped in the rebel-held sector of Aleppo. Bombing by government forces and their allies has killed dozens of people after a ceasefire brokered by US and Russia collapsed last week.

(WION with inputs from agencies)

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