PHOTO: A residential building in Darayya burns on Tuesday

The local council of the besieged town of Darayya, southwest of Damascus, says barrel bombs with napalm have put the last hospital out of operation.

On Tuesday night, regime helicopters dropped barrel bombs on the hospital. They returned on Wednesday to drop four more, according to a doctor at the facility:

The field hospital caught on fire, and the surrounding buildings also went up in flames. The attack not only damaged much of the medical equipment, but it also forced the medical staff to temporarily close the hospital until they could get the fire under control.

After a few hours, the hospital reopened. It had to. It’s the only one left in the city.

More attacks were reported on Thursday night, forcing another closure.

The doctor described the aerial assaults:

When a napalm-filled barrel bomb falls from the sky, you’ll hear it tear through the air. That’s all. There’s no explosion. And at first, this may even give you a sense of relief, but the real horror is what ensues.

The bombs hit the building, and the only exit went up in flames. Things only got worse when the fire and smoke began to spread to the basement — our shelter — and all the while, we were just sitting there helpless, waiting for the Civil Defense to get the situation under control.

When they were finally able to keep the flames from spreading, the medical staff helped get the sick and injured out of the hospital, and we carried out as much medical equipment as possible.

The fire was enormous. We really thought that there was no way that the Civil Defense would be able to control it, but after nearly eight hours of firefighting late into the evening, they managed to put out the worst parts of the blaze.

The Non-Stop Bombing Campaign

Darayya has been cut off by the Syrian military since November 2012. The regime has stepped up attempts this year to overrun the town, with thousands of barrel bombs, missiles, and rockets. In recent weeks, the air force has resorted to incendiary weapons, according to local officials, activists, and journalists.

Incendiary weapons — using materials such as napalm, thermite, magnesium powder, chlorine trifluoride, or white phosphorus — are designed to start fires which are difficult to extinguish. Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch issued a report documenting the Russian-regime use of the weapons in northwest Syria.

More footage of the fires on Thursday night:

The doctor explained the significance of the loss of the hospital:

For the past four years, this has been the only hospital in Darayya. It serves every single person in this city. We handle emergency cases and battle injuries. We treat the sick, do childbirths, OB/GYN work and even have a medical lab.

If this hospital were to be destroyed, it would be nothing short of catastrophe. If a person is injured and they do not receive treatment, they will die. We are the only place. We do as much as possible given the circumstances, but there are just some cases that you can’t properly address while working with a dim cellphone light.