Syrian medics report 'systematic' targeting of hospitals and medical personnel

'Healthcare has been used as a tool of war in Syria', doctors claim

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Indy Politics

At the height of the Syrian conflict, there has been an attack on hospitals and other medical facilities once every 29 hours, a new report has revealed.

The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) said Russian military intervention was one of the principal causes for the increased intensity in the latter half of 2016. The vast majority of the 178 attacks recorded were carried out by aerial bombardment, and were allegedly committed by the Syrian government and its allies.

“Healthcare has been used as a tool of war in Syria, with hospitals and medical personnel being repeatedly targeted.” SAMS said.

The report also demonstrates that the UN resolution on attacks against medical facilities has been completely ineffective. Since the Security Council passed the resolution on the 3rd May, SAMS have recorded an 89 per cent increase in the number of attacks on medical facilities.

This animated map shows every attack on the hospital between June and December 2016. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of these attacks (42%) were carried out in besieged Aleppo by pro-government forces and their allies.

Fourteen medics were killed, and twenty-three injured, in attacks on medical facilities.

Humanitarian charity Médecins Sans Frontieres said, “The Syrian government continues to deny repeated requests by Médecins Sans Frontières to access government-controlled areas. In a country where we should be running some of our largest medical programmes, the opportunities to reach people and to respond in a timely manner to the enormous needs remains extremely limited.

“This is a forceful reminder of how access to medical care is by and large not respected and is in many cases directly targeted by those involved in the conflict and used for political purposes.”