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East Aleppo hospitals struck by white phosphorous, bunker-buster bombs

'It's an unchecked assault that always seems to target medical facilities,' medical source said of Syrian government assault on Aleppo
A Syrian man walks past heavily damaged buildings after air strikes on rebel-held eastern areas of Aleppo this week (AFP)

A white phosphorous bomb landed in the midst of a cluster of medical facilities in the besieged eastern district of Aleppo, local sources told Middle East Eye.

The Independent Doctors Association (IDA) told MEE on Friday that a white phosphorous bomb struck the area as part of a "double-tap" air strike.

The IDA is a Syrian medical organisation that focuses solely in running health facilities in Aleppo. It was founded in 2012 by doctors native to Aleppo and they run facilities both in the city and its surrounding countryside.

Three medical facilities – the al-Zahra maternity hospital, a children’s hospital and a blood bank – are clustered around the central square that was targeted by the air strike. All are run by the IDA.

There were no reported causalities, but the maternity hospital was almost set on fire.

“Doctors were putting out the fires,” the IDA told MEE. “What white phosphorous does is that it starts small fires everywhere, so they were busy trying to put out all the fires inside the building.”

The white phosphorous munition exploded in the square and was the first of a double-tap strike.

The second was a bunker-buster bomb. The increased use of these munitions has recently made international headlines.

The bunker-buster “shook the hospital,” MEE was told by the IDA, which added that it almost struck the children’s hospital.

It was a “close call,” the IDA said, because a direct hit would have demolished the facility with all its infant patients inside.

This attack is only the latest in the all-out war being waged between government forces and Syrian rebels in the country’s second city.

“It’s an unchecked assault that always seems to target medical facilities,” the IDA told MEE.

The IDA source told MEE that Zahraa maternity hospital has been targeted four times before, and the children's hospital has been targeted twice this year.

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