From October 5, seemingly indiscriminate attacks on communities in Syria’s Northwest resumed, including attacks on healthcare facilities. In fact, SAMS has had to suspend service provision at some of our Idlib facilities, and four of our facilities in the broader Idlib area were impacted by the strikes.
These latest attacks have caused significant loss of life and destruction of infrastructure. At SAMS’ facilities alone, we have documented 16 deaths and over 130 injuries. The attacks also destroyed roads, power stations, and places of business. As has been true throughout the war, the attacks make no distinction between military and civilian targets, and the highest price is paid by innocent families who are just trying to survive.
“It is difficult to know what to ask for or where to turn for help,” said SAMS’ President Dr. Mufaddal Hamadeh. “For over a decade, the world has sought to deter indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Syria, but they are still happening. It is particularly devastating that this is happening now as communities in Syria’s northwest are still reeling from the earthquake and trying to rebuild.”
For years now, since the earliest days of the conflict, SAMS has joined other Syrian-American and human rights organizations in demanding an end to these attacks. More specifically, we have asked partners in government, the UN, and relevant international bodies to take all means at their disposal to deter or end such attacks. But more than a decade later, we are still making the same demands as the attacks continue. Furthermore, we have seen the disregard for International Humanitarian Law proliferate to other conflicts around the globe, where the same tragic patterns that played out in Syria recur.
Unfortunately, the precedent of impunity was established in Syria. In fact, some of the installations hit during the past few days were a part of the UN’s deconfliction effort and had previously been officially listed as civilian infrastructure off-limits for combatants. SAMS’ will continue to demand an immediate end to attacks on civilian targets, particularly attacks on healthcare facilities. We further ask that those countries of goodwill and international institutions committed to human rights commit additional effort and resources to bringing such attacks to an end and holding perpetrators accountable. Specifically, we ask that the United Nations publicly condemn the growing evidence of human rights violations being committed during the past week and since the start of the conflict and call for the Human Rights Council and other relevant bodies to also pursue all possible measures to end attacks. Furthermore, we call for a global commitment to the protection of civilians so that healthcare can be provided to all those who need it.