Save the Children-supported maternity hospital bombed in Syria: NGO

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said that the hospital in the rebel-held town of Kafar Takharim was heavily damaged and left barely operational. (Representative Image) Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Beirut, Lebanon Jul 29, 2016, 03.41 PM (IST)
A maternity hospital supported by Save the Children was bombed Friday in an air raid in Idlib province of northwest Syria, causing casualties and heavy damage, the Britain-based charity said.

"Save the Children supported maternity hospital in #Idlib bombed, casualties reported - numbers unconfirmed," it tweeted.

In a statement, Save the Children said the bomb hit the entrance to the hospital.

"This is the only hospital specialising in maternity and children in the northern western side of rural Idlib," it said.

"Casualties have been reported and we are awaiting confirmation of numbers," the statement said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said that the hospital in the rebel-held town of Kafar Takharim was heavily damaged and left barely operational.

Quoting sources on the ground, it said a jihadist from Jabhat Fateh al-Sham who was going to visit his wife in the hospital was killed in the raid.

"It was him that was targeted. He went to visit his wife who had just given birth when the bombing happened," said the monitoring group's head, Rami Abdel Rahman.

The bombing came a day after the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra Front, said it was breaking ties with the global terror network and changing its name to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.

Save The Children said the hospital is the biggest in the area, serving over 1,300 women monthly and carrying out over 300 deliveries a month.

"The hospital has six incubators for premature babies, and an outpatient clinic for supporting pregnant women and providing after delivery care," it said.

The Britain-based Observatory did not specify if the raid was carried out by Syrian regime aircraft or warplanes of its Russian allies. Several clinics and makeshift hospital in rebel-controlled areas have been hit by Syrian regime air strikes, particularly in Aleppo and Idlib provinces.

Last week, air raids struck four makeshift hospitals and a blood bank over a 24-hour period in the regime-besieged eastern sector of the city of Aleppo.

In a separate statement, Sonia Khush, Syria Director for Save the Children, said the situation for an estimated 100,000 children trapped under siege and bombardment in Aleppo is "desperate".

"The world cannot turn its back while children are bombed and then denied medical treatment," she said. "We need an end to the indiscriminate attacks on civilians and immediate and unfettered access for humanitarian aid."

CIA chief not optimistic about Syria

Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan said on Friday he was not optimistic about the future of Syria.

"I don't know whether or not Syria can be put back together again," Brennan told the annual Aspen Security Forum. His comments were a rare public acknowledgement by a top US official that Syria may not survive a five-year civil war in its current state.

The twin US goals in Syria have been ending the violence that already has claimed some 400,000 lives, according to United Nations estimates, and seeking a political process to replace Assad, whom President Barack Obama has said "must go."