March 21, 2021

Washington, D.C.- Earlier today, at 8:20 AM local time, 3 artillery strikes targeted the SAMS-supported Al-Atareb Surgical Hospital in western Aleppo, a major hospital in northwest Syria that had been providing extensive services to the local community. The hospital sustained extensive damage and was forced to close. One of the shells hit the main yard in front of the hospital, while the orthopedic clinic was completely destroyed. The shell also caused structural damage to the windows and the front gate. Another projectile hit the electric generators on the roof of the hospital, rendering them out of service.

The attack resulted in 6 fatalities among patients, including one child. An additional 17 people were injured, including 5 medical staff. At least 4 injuries are critical and were transported to Turkey to receive emergency treatment. One of the injured doctors suffered a severe eye injury due to shrapnel, and his prognosis is still unknown at this time. 

The hospital provides an average of 3,650 out-patient medical services per month, 177 general, orthopedic, and urologic surgeries, as well as emergency and obstetrics services. 

The hospital coordinates were shared through the UN-led deconfliction mechanism. However, this did not prevent parties to the conflict from targeting the hospital.

“After 10 years of active conflict, efforts by the United Nations Secretariat and Security Council have proven unable to prevent these heinous violations of international law,” said SAMS President, Dr. Mufaddal Hamadeh. “This latest incident further illustrates the need for the Security Council to better enforce its existing resolutions, and for those actors who perpetrate these attacks to be held accountable. How much longer can we leave innocent civilians and health workers so helpless in the face of these attacks?” 

SAMS has documented 157 direct and indirect attacks by heavy-weapons on its facilities since 2017, resulting in the temporary or permanent closure of at least 14 facilities, the killing of 32 medical personnel, and injuries to another 50.

SAMS strongly condemns attacks on healthcare and calls on the United Nations to renew its effort to find meaningful ways to protect healthcare personnel and to hold perpetrators accountable.

For media requests, please contact SAMS’ Senior Media and Communications Manager, Lobna Hassairi at [email protected]