For Immediate Release
September 28, 2015
Washington, DC – A SAMS-supported field hospital in Kafr Batna, Rural Damascus was directly targeted by at least 6 Syrian government airstrikes today, causing the deaths of 3 medical professionals, dozens of injuries, and destruction to the hospital. It is now inoperative, and all other medical facilities in Kafr Batna have shut down as a precautionary measure.
The Managing Director of the hospital, Abdelrahman Alrehani, was killed in the airstrikes. Two nurses, Ez Eldeen Einaiah and Mohamad Hassan Ajaj, were also killed. They join over 670 other medical professionals who have been killed in Syria. SAMS sends prayers and condolences to all of the victims and their families.
The hospital was originally a tuberculosis hospital, and then expanded to meet the needs of the population dealing with aerial attacks and under siege. It has functioned as a field hospital for the last few years, well equipped with an operating room and intensive care unit, and reinforced with protected basement infrastructure. The hospital has been targeted several times over the last four years by Syrian government airstrikes and bombings. Dr. Majed Abou Ali, SAMS Protection Officer and representative for the United Medical Office of East Ghouta, said “We know that this hospital was directly targeted by the government. It was not hit by a bomb, it was hit by many airstrikes over the course of several hours.”
SAMS condemns the intense and brutal military assaults of Rural Damascus, particularly the targeted attacks on hospitals and civilian populated areas. For more than two years, areas in Rural Damascus like Kafr Batna have been under siege. At the same time, shelling and aerial bombardment of the area has been almost constant. Dr. Ahmad Tarakji, President of the Syrian American Medical Society, said, “As the world powers meet for the UN General Assembly, they need to prioritize civilian protection in Syria and the implementation of their own resolutions. This targeted attack on a hospital, all too common in Syria, violates international humanitarian law, and the lack of accountability for attacks like this cannot continue to be the norm. Civilians, humanitarian, and health workers urgently needprotection from aerial attacks.”
For media requests, please contact SAMS’s Advocacy and Communications Manager Kat Fallon at [email protected].