In a massive incident, up to 14 civilians including up to four children, six women and a health worker were reported killed and between 35 and 71 also including children, women and health personnel injured in alleged Russian forces or Syrian regime airstrikes on Ariha in Idlib, Syria in the night between January 29th and 30th, 2020, according to local sources. The Syrian Network for Human Rights said that six of those killed are from the same family, and Macro Media Center reported that Ariha Hospital was targeted with vacuum missiles.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights reported that “at least six civilians, a child and five women, from the same family were killed as fixed- wing warplanes we believe were Russian fired missiles on a residential building in the vicinity of al Shami Hospital in the north of Ariha city in the southern suburbs of Idlib governorate, on January 29th, 2020.”
Step Agency reported that “10 civilians, including children, were killed in an initial toll as a result of the targeting of Russian warplanes with three airstrikes of Al-Shami Surgical Hospital, an oven, and civilian homes in the city of Ariha at midnight, as the hospital went out of service due to the devastation.”
The media sources said that three raids targeted many civilian facilities including Al Shami Surgical Hospital in Ariha killing and wounding a number of health personnel and putting the hospital out of service, in addition to a bakery and residential areas. The Syrian Network for Human Rights said that ” fixed-wing warplanes we believe were Russian fired missiles on al Shami Hospital, known as Ariha Surgical Hospital located in north of Ariha city in the southern suburbs of Idlib governorate, severely destroying its building and damaging its equipment. As a result, the hospital went out of service, on January 29th.”
Geiroon said that the attack on the hospital led also to injury of six health personnel, and to outbreak of fire in the hospital that provides services to 350,000 people.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that “A new massacre carried out by Russian warplanes, in which ten civilians were killed in Ariha city on Wednesday evening, one of the raids targeted the vicinity of the oven in the city, seven civilians were killed, including five women and a child, who are displaced from Joseph village in Jabal Zawiya, while the rest were killed in raids on al-Shami surgical hospital.”
Shaam Network said that “Civil defense teams managed to retrieve ten martyrs, most of them children and women, from the rubble of destroyed buildings around the Al-Shami Hospital in Ariha, after Russian air strikes hit the hospital late at night.”
The Syrian Network for Human Rights said that the director of the hospital died because of injuries he sustained as a result of the airstrikes. “Zakwan Tamma’a, born in 1977, from Ariha city, an anesthesia technician and the administrative manager of al Shami Hospital, died on February 1st, due to wounds sustained on January 29th, as fixed- wing warplanes we believe were Russian fired missiles on al Shami Hospital in north of Ariha city.” The airstrikes also led to injury of two Syrian Civil Defense volunteers who were on duty responding to the situation.
In addition to the hospital, the raids targeted a bakery in the area. Edlib Media Center reported that “Russian occupation targeted the “automatic oven” with vacuum missiles in the city of Ariha in Idlib countryside, which led to its destruction and its departure from service.”
Shaam Network raised the death toll to 12 and Halab Today said the number of injuries reached 71. Most sources blamed Russia alone for the incident, while Halab Today pointed both the Syrian regime and Russia together for that.
Human Rights Watch said in their report, October 2020 that “Three munitions destroyed the three-story Ariha Surgical Hospital (also known as al-Shami hospital), the only hospital in Ariha, on the night of January 29, 2020, killing at least 14 civilians and wounding another 66. A doctor said in March that the number of dead was likely higher, with some bodies still missing under the rubble.” “The attack on Ariha Surgical Hospital forced the permanent closure of the only functioning hospital in a town of over 37,000 residents at the time. Over 200,000 residents in neighboring villages also relied on the hospital’s services.”
Al Hurra reported that “an AFP reporter saw a doctor screaming out of the hospital, filled with dust from the strike. Walls in the hospital collapsed and stones were scattered, along with medical equipment and medicines that were damaged and fell to the ground.” In addition to the hospital, the reporter saw three buildings completely destroyed. The source also reported that in a hospital near Ariha, more than five children were being treated for their wounds.
Tawfiq Saado, an ambulance driver in Jericho Hospital, told AFP, “I was sitting in one of the rooms, and if an air strike targeted the hospital, then one of the doctors and I rushed out, only to be surprised by another raid… The doctor was wounded and I managed to escape and hide in a nearby building. In a third raid, fires broke out, and the injured fell in front of the hospital door.”
The incident occured during the night.