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Assad Deliberately Targets Hospitals, Kills 2-Day-Old Baby

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime targeted four makeshift hospitals in Aleppo July 24, killing a two-day-old baby.

An Al Jazeera reporter on the ground told Al Jazeera English, “There is supposed to be a ceasefire which began in February that clearly is all but in name.” The baby was reportedly killed when one of the hospitals was hit by a regime airstrike. Despite a devastating five years of civil war, 300,000 civilians remain inside Aleppo. One humanitarian activist told Al Jazeera there are now only two bakeries in Aleppo to serve the remaining 300,000 customers.

In mid-July, Assad, along with his Russian and Iranian allies, cut off the last remaining supply lines into Aleppo. Aleppo is the largest city inside Syria and prior to the civil war served as the country’s commercial capital. Assad hopes to bleed rebels of any support, believing that by frequently targeting humanitarian, medical, and other aid facilities he can accelerate their surrender.

Syria’s rebel opposition has held positions inside Aleppo for nearly five years, and is unlikely to overcome Assad, Iran, and Russia’s overwhelming firepower. Assad and his allies hope to exploit the firepower advantage and civilian misery to lessen rebel resistance and resources.

The Assad regime’s strategy is to maintain control over as much of the civilian populace as possible to ensure his legitimacy in the eyes of the world, and bargain with the rebel opposition for peace from as strong a battlefield position as possible.

Almost immediately after the deadly airstrikes, Assad’s state run media organization released a statement saying, “Syria … is ready to continue the Syrian-Syrian dialogue without any preconditions … and without foreign interference, with the support of the United Nations.”

The regime has consistently violated almost every ceasefire it has agreed to in the last five years. The airstrike yesterday that killed the baby was under the guise of a ceasefire, and just two weeks ago the regime used the cover of an agreed holiday ceasefire to launch a massive assault on rebel supply lines into Aleppo.

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