As eastern Aleppo witnesses the fiercest bombings since the beginning of the Syrian war, access to healthcare has become extremely limited. Seeking medical care is a danger in itself, with at least 23 recorded attacks on eastern Aleppo’s eight remaining hospitals since the siege began in July.
Eastern Aleppo’s two main surgical medical facilities, supported by Médecins Sans Frontières and other organisations, were damaged five times each, leaving one facility out of service since 1 October. In the past two weeks alone, the bombing campaign has claimed at least 377 lives according to the Directorate of Health, which only registers casualties that are confirmed at hospital sites. Many of the wounded are being treated at homes and elsewhere, and are therefore not registered. “The situation is unbearable,” said Carlos Francisco, Médecins Sans Frontières’ head of mission in Syria. “The few remaining doctors with capability to save lives are also confronting death. Only a few days ago, the manager of one of the health centres we support and his whole family, including kids, were killed by a barrel bomb.”
"Only a few days ago, the manager of one of the health centres we support and his whole family, including kids, were killed by a barrel bomb"
All eight hospitals in eastern Aleppo are currently overwhelmed with high numbers of war-wounded patients. People are literally dying on the floors of the facilities. In an area with population of approximately 250,000, only seven professionals remain who are capable of performing surgeries on war-wounded patients. “There are a lot of wounded people because the bombs are falling in busy areas – crowded streets, bread queues, or the queues where aid is being distributed,” said Dr Abu Waseem, the manager of a surgical hospital supported by Médecins Sans Frontières.
Completely isolated by the siege, people throughout eastern Aleppo are suffering from a lack of basic goods. Fuel has also been depleted, which has an added impact on both ambulances and hospitals. “The Syrian and Russian governments have taken this battle to a new level,” said Pablo Marco, Médecins Sans Frontières’ operations manager in the Middle East. “The whole of eastern Aleppo is being targeted. Hundreds of civilians are being massacred; their lives have turned into hell.”
Médecins Sans Frontières supports eight hospitals in Aleppo city. It runs six medical facilities across northern Syria and supports more than 150 health centres and hospitals across the country, many of them in besieged areas.