In this file photo from February 2016, people carry medical supplies found under the rubble of a destroyed Doctors Without Borders (MSF) supported hospital hit by missiles in Maaret Nouman, Idlib [File: Ammar Abdullah/Reuters]

Dr Yasser al Samm, a surgeon, was on duty in the emergency ward of the Maaret al Numan hospital in Idlib on July 10 when he heard four explosions and felt the walls shake.

“I was confused but there was no time for confusion. We started to evacuate the patients to the basement,” he said. “I actually didn’t expect the hospital to be bombed.”

Even though the Syrian government and its Russian ally had been pounding the last rebel-held stronghold in Syria for more than two months, Yasser thought

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