Inside an Idlib maternity ward

This is the sound of alarm for warplanes at the entrance of a maternity hospital in Idlib, Syria.

And inside, medics are trying to keep newborn babies alive while caring for mothers amid the latest Syrian government assault in the area.

Ikram is one of three doctors left working in this hospital.

She is also eight-months pregnant.

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN DOCTOR, IKRAM SAYING:

"For me, the latest stage has been the worst of all. It's been very very difficult. It's tragic, tragic. I've reached the stage where I feel I can't go on."

Medical staff said there had been a marked rise in miscarriages and premature births in the last two months.

Some expectant mothers arrive in shock after leaving home in terror during shelling and every day four or five babies are found to have died in the womb.

In Idlib city's central hospital, surgeon Mohammad Abrash said a missile smashed into the road last week which left four of his medical staff wounded.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SURGEON, MOHAMMAD ABRASH, SAYING:

"It's so difficult for us to work in these conditions. We have to work under stress. Even that we have to give our experience to our people. We have to save them, we have to give the first aid for them. We have to treat them, operate them according to the situation. Like they are staying here, in this area, because it is our area. I am from Saraqeb city, I have to stay nearby our people. So we are staying together. Anything will happen to them, will happen to us."

Conflict in Syria has escalated in recent days.


Russian-backed Syrian government forces have been trying to retake Idlib province while Turkey launched a counter offensive in the region.

Intense airstrikes and shelling has caused the biggest single displacement of Syrians in the country's 9-year conflict.

Nearly a million people have been uprooted since December as they flee the destruction of their towns and villages.

Many are sheltering in camps on the Turkish border.

But others, with nowhere to go, have taken refuge at a sports stadium in Idlib city.

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN GIRL TAKING REFUGEE IN IDLIB STADIUM, JANA, SAYING:

"The situation here is tragic. There are no bathrooms. There are some toilets, but not very well maintained, and when it rains the water comes through the tents."