Syrian warplanes flattened a building next to a hospital last night, killing at least 15 people and damaging one of the last remaining sources of medical help for civilians in Aleppo, activists said. Once a private clinic owned by a businessman loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, the Dar al-Shifa became a field hospital run by volunteer doctors, nurses, and aides united by their opposition to the regime and the need to give medical care to both civilians and rebels.
The facility has taken at least six direct hits in recent months, mostly affecting the upper floors. The seven-story hospital is only about 400 meters from the frontline in a neighborhood that is heavily shelled every day. The warplanes turned the building adjacent to the hospital into a pile of rubble and sprayed shrapnel and debris into Dar al-Shifa itself, activists said. One activist tells the AP that at least 11 fighters were killed in the raid, in addition to a doctor, a young girl, and two children who were on the street. Meanwhile, rebels seized a key military base with artillery stockpiles in the country's east today after a three-week siege, strengthening their hold in an oil-rich strategic province bordering Iraq, activists said. (Read more Aleppo stories.)