Beirut: Four hospitals in the southern Syrian province of Daraa have been forced to close in recent days after intensive government air strikes, a monitor said on Thursday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 18 people were killed in government strikes across Daraa on Wednesday, including in a raid that hit a rebel checkpoint near a field hospital in the town of Saida.
"A member of the hospital`s staff was killed along with three fighters," the Britain-based monitor said.
"The strike damaged the Saida field hospital, which is the fourth hospital to stop work within a week in Daraa province because of intensive government strikes," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.
The Observatory said a hospital run by a charity in the town of Eastern Ghariyah had also closed its doors because of "continuous regime targeting and the need to protect the safety of our staff."
On June 16, at least 16 people, most of them children, were killed in Syrian government air strikes in Eastern Ghariyah, according to the Observatory.
The monitor said two other hospitals -- in the towns of Naama and Tafas -- had also closed their doors in recent days because of damage caused by aerial strikes or fear of further raids.
The Observatory said Wednesday`s government strikes in Daraa included raids in and around the town of Saida that left 13 dead.
Another five people were killed in a barrel bomb attack in Tafas, the monitor said.
Syria`s official SANA news agency reported that "at least 15 terrorists were killed and a bombmaking factory was destroyed in an army operation against terrorist positions in the town of Saida."
Rights organisations and medical groups have regularly warned about declining medical conditions in Syria, where hospitals and medical staff have frequently come under attack during the more than four-year conflict.