Hospitals in Aleppo are 'all but obliterated' in bombings, UN warns

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Hospitals in Aleppo are "all but obliterated," the United Nations warned Sunday, saying that bomb attacks had subjected civilians "to a level of savagery that no human should have to endure."

"Indiscriminate bombing and shelling continues in a shocking and unrelenting manner, killing and maiming" residents, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien said in a statement.

"We are in a race against time to protect and save civilians in eastern Aleppo city," he said. "They need our urgent action to bring an end to their living hell."

Heartbreaking photos of the crisis in Aleppo:

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Children affected by conflict in Aleppo
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Children affected by conflict in Aleppo
TOPSHOT - EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Syrian civil defence volunteers, known as the White Helmets, retrieve bodies from under the rubble of a building following a reported airstrike on September 23, 2016, on the al-Muasalat area in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Missiles rained down on rebel-held areas of Syria's Aleppo, causing widespread destruction that overwhelmed rescue teams, as the army prepared a ground offensive to retake the city. / AFP / THAER MOHAMMED (Photo credit should read THAER MOHAMMED/AFP/Getty Images)
A Syrian boy awaits treatment at a make-shift hospital following air strikes on rebel-held eastern areas of Aleppo on September 24, 2016. Heavy Syrian and Russian air strikes on rebel-held eastern areas of Aleppo city killed at least 25 civilians on Saturday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, overwhelming doctors and rescue workers. / AFP / KARAM AL-MASRI (Photo credit should read KARAM AL-MASRI/AFP/Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Syrian civil defence volunteers, known as the White Helmets, retrieve bodies from under the rubble of a building following a reported airstrike on September 23, 2016, on the al-Muasalat area in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Missiles rained down on rebel-held areas of Syria's Aleppo, causing widespread destruction that overwhelmed rescue teams, as the army prepared a ground offensive to retake the city. / AFP / THAER MOHAMMED (Photo credit should read THAER MOHAMMED/AFP/Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Syrian civil defence volunteers, known as the White Helmets, retrieve bodies from under the rubble of a building following a reported airstrike on September 23, 2016, on the al-Muasalat area in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Missiles rained down on rebel-held areas of Syria's Aleppo, causing widespread destruction that overwhelmed rescue teams, as the army prepared a ground offensive to retake the city. / AFP / THAER MOHAMMED (Photo credit should read THAER MOHAMMED/AFP/Getty Images)
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUALS COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY A civil defence member transports an injured girl into an ambulance after an airstrike in the rebel-controlled city of Idlib, Syria June 15, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah TEMPLATE OUT
Men inspect the damage after an airstrike on the rebel held al-Qaterji neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria September 25, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail
ALEPPO, SYRIA - SEPTEMBER 26: A wounded kid is seen after Syrian and Russian army carried out an airstrike on residential area at Maadi town of Aleppo, Syria on September 26, 2016. (Photo by Jawad al Rifai/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Syrian man carries the body of an infant retrieved from under the rubble of a building following a reported airstrike on September 23, 2016, on the al-Muasalat area in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Missiles rained down on rebel-held areas of Syria's Aleppo, causing widespread destruction that overwhelmed rescue teams, as the army prepared a ground offensive to retake the city. / AFP / THAER MOHAMMED (Photo credit should read THAER MOHAMMED/AFP/Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A Syrian woman carries the body of her infant after he was retrieved from under the rubble of a building following a reported airstrike on September 23, 2016, on the al-Muasalat area in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Missiles rained down on rebel-held areas of Syria's Aleppo, causing widespread destruction that overwhelmed rescue teams, as the army prepared a ground offensive to retake the city. / AFP / THAER MOHAMMED (Photo credit should read THAER MOHAMMED/AFP/Getty Images)
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His plea came as Syrian government and allied forces advanced north of Aleppo, pressing their week-long offensive to take the insurgent-held part of the city after dozens of overnight air strikes hit the besieged eastern sector, state media and a monitor said Sunday.

Related: Russia Warns of 'Terrible' Consequences if U.S. Attacks Syrian Government Forces

The Syrian military, supported by Iran-backed militias and Russian air power, began their offensive to take control of the whole of the divided city of Aleppo after a week-long ceasefire broke down last month.

An initial air campaign by the Syrian government and its allied forces more than a week ago was later reinforced by a ground offensive seeking to establish control over the besieged insurgent-held eastern half of the city.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and state television said the Syrian military and allies advanced south from the Handarat refugee camp north of Aleppo city, which they took earlier this week, into the Shuqaif industrial area.

Zakaria Malahifji, of the Aleppo-based rebel group Fastaqim, told Reuters there were clashes in this area on Sunday.

Related: Kerry Audio Shows Frustration With Inability to Stop Syria Bloodshed

In his statement, O'Brien said that "indiscriminate bombing and shelling continues in a shocking and unrelenting manner, killing and maiming civilians, subjecting them to a level of savagery that no human should have to endure."

"The health care system in eastern Aleppo is all but obliterated," he added.

On Saturday, the largest trauma and intensive care center in eastern Aleppo was badly damaged by air strikes and had to close. Two patients were killed.

The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), which partly supported the hospital, said the hospital had been hit seven times since July, with three attacks this week alone.

SEE ALSO: White Helmet Volunteer's Tears Show Toll of Syria War

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