The recent escalation of the Syrian civil war ended up in Aleppo on Friday writing one of the bloodiest pages of the conflict. Within a few hours, 40 civilians were killed by government shelling and rebel gunfire. At least 30 died in a violent air raid, attributed by most to the government’s air force, which hit a field hospital run by Doctors Without Borders and the International Red Cross. Shortly after, another 10 civilians fell under the fire of rebel groups fighting against Damascus.
All were innocent victims of the failure of the ceasefire begun in late February that had given the Syrians a brief period of relative calm. The resumption of fighting in recent days has been explained in a superficial way, as a result of the strengthening of President Bashar al-Assad who, thanks to the successes achieved by his army, chose force over negotiations with the opposition. But the picture is more complex. Rebels and jihadists have also violated the truce several times to consolidate their positions on the ground and respond to siege by the army, which now controls much of the area around Aleppo.
The images broadcast online Friday by journalists and local activists and aired by networks all over the world, showed scenes of ruins, rescuers wrapped in a dense dust cloud extracting the bodies of victims from the rubble, among the cries of despair of relatives and survivors. Many of the wounded were taken away by makeshift means. The bombs hit specifically the Al Quds hospital, the city’s main pediatric center, and some nearby houses, in the Sukkari district, located in the area of Aleppo controlled by rebel militias and Jihadi. Among the dead there were 14 doctors and patients, including the last pediatrician who remained in that part of town, Dr. Wassim Maaz.