A Syrian aid group today denounced the incessant bombing of medical facilities in the war-wracked country, where 177 hospitals have been destroyed and nearly 700 health workers killed.
“Since 2012, health infrastructure has been continuously targeted by bombings,” said Oubaida al-Mufti, president of the Union of Rescue and Medical Care (UOSSM).
The UOSSM organises doctors from the Syrian diaspora and works in areas controlled by the armed opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, supporting local health workers on the frontline.
Between August 2012 and December 2015, 330 medical sites, including 177 hospitals, were destroyed by armed attacks, Mufti told a conference in Paris.
“Just in 2015, we counted 112 targeted attacks,” he added. “During the same period, 697 doctors, pharmacists, dentists, nurses and other health personnel lost their lives in these targeted attacks.”
He said 29 hospitals had been destroyed since Russia began air strikes in support of Assad’s regime in September.
The bombings have made the situation in these zones “unbearable, unliveable”, Mufti said, adding that there would be “disastrous consequences” as health workers were abandoning the region in droves.
“These attacks are committed in total violation of humanitarian law and international conventions,” he said. Since September, the bombings have become more intense and precise, added Monzer Khalil, a doctor from Idlib in northwest Syria.
“While before the hospitals were generally not very affected, they are now entirely destroyed by these attacks,” he told the conference. The Syrian war has killed almost 250,000 people.