Medical workers in Aleppo, Syria, have called for the protection of civilians in the embattled city after air strikes targeted two medical facilities and the last working children's hospital, killing 20 and wounding dozens more.
The regime attacks on 8 June forced doctors at the Aleppo children's hospital to remove 18 babies from incubators, effectively putting the hospital out of service.
''We expected that it would happen one day, and today is that day", said Dr. Hatem, the director of the hospital, which is run by the Independent Doctor's Association (IDA). "We expected that one day we would be attacked, because we are the only children's hospital in Aleppo.''
In the wake of the attacks on medical facilities the Independent Doctors' Association has demanded protection for all civilians inside Aleppo and called on the international community to uphold its responsibility to stop the strikes.
"The air strikes are making medical care impossible. Hospitals are becoming places of death – where innocent people can be targeted for needing care. There is no question: the air strikes in Aleppo are a form of collective punishment", said Dr. Mahmoud of the Independent Doctor's Association.
At the time of the attacks in Aleppo, Unicef regional director, Peter Salama, said to Associated Press: "The Al Hakim hospital, a Unicef supported facility, is one of the few that still provide pediatric services. Everyone must question their humanity when babies have to be taken out of incubators because of attacks on hospitals."
Videos posted and filmed in Aleppo showed scenes of utter carnage with bodies and body parts lying around, burning buildings and vehicles and smoke hanging heavy in the air. Witnesses said some people were trapped under rubble, others burned alive, and members of the emergency services were also targeted as they went to help.
Aleppo is roughly divided between rebel-held areas to the east and those loyal to the regime of Bashar al-Assad in the west. The two sides frequently fire shells into each other's neighbourhoods, with civilians often caught in the crossfire. Al-Assad's forces are also dropping so-called 'barrel bombs' from helicopters, whilst backed by the Russians, who have also launched many air strikes in a bid to secure al-Assad's Presidency.