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Major hospital in rebel-held Syria taken out by airstrikes

One of Syria's most secure hospitals, which had been dug into a mountain, is taken out of service after it is hit by airstrikes.

Human rights group says Russian warplanes struck so-called Cave Hospital

A medic prepares a serum for a rebel fighter, inside a cave that was converted into a field hospital in the northern countryside of Hama, in March 2015. (Khalil Ashawi/Reuters)

One of Syria's most secure hospitals, which had been dug into a mountain, was taken out of service after it was hit by airstrikes over the weekend, according to a medical relief group and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The International Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) said Dr. Hasan Al-Araj Hospital — also known as Cave Hospital and located in the central province of Hama — was struck twice on Sunday.

The observatory said Russian warplanes carried out the attacks that hit the hospital, near the central village of Kfar Zeita, adding that it's one of the largest hospitals in rebel-held parts of the country. The UOSSM said there were minor injuries from the attack.

Dr. Abdallah Darwish, the hospital's director and health care chief in Hama province, was quoted in the UOSSM statement as saying that the hospital was likely struck by "bunker buster" missiles as it is "well fortified in a cave and impervious to previous attacks."

These vicious and atrocious campaigns are literally choking the life out of civilians.— Dr. Khaula Sawah

The bomb caused major damage throughout the hospital, including destroying the emergency ward, he said.

Syrian and Russian warplanes have been blamed for a series of attacks that have damaged hospitals and clinics in rebel-held parts of Syria, mostly in Aleppo.

Dr. Khaula Sawah, CEO of UOSSM USA, said the situation in Syria is becoming "more and more dire as every day passes."

"These vicious and atrocious campaigns are literally choking the life out of civilians, they are deplorable and unacceptable," she said. "We demand the international community and all responsible parties put an immediate stop to this before it is too late."

Suicide blasts

Elsewhere on Monday, two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the government-held city of Hama, killing two people and wounding at least 12, Syria's state news agency SANA reported.

The ISIS-affiliated news agency Amaq said three suicide bombers from the group had attacked the headquarters of the police and the ruling Baath Party in Hama.

State media made no mention of a third bomber.

With files from Reuters

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