For Immediate Release
August 5, 2016
Washington, DC – On August 3, a SAMS-supported facility and nursing institute in Aleppo were hit by a vacuum bomb, a weapon outlawed by international law. One of the ambulances for the hospital was also destroyed in the attack. The hospital was out of service at the time of the attack due to severe damage from previous attacks. Since June, this facility has been targeted 5 times.
On August 4, another SAMS-supported facility in Aleppo was targeted in an attack that caused major damage to the facility and injured a 13-year-old boy who was passing near the hospital. In the past two months, this facility has been attacked 3 times.
July has been the worst month for attacks on healthcare since the beginning of the conflict. There were 43 attacks on healthcare facilities in Syria in July – more than one attack every day. In 2015, this number of attacks occurred over six months, with 47 attacks between January and May, according to Physicians for Human Rights.
In eastern Aleppo City, where over 300,000 people, including 85,000 children under the age of 14, are besieged, health facilities were targeted 15 times in July. The situation in eastern Aleppo City is an emergency. Hospitals are running out of critical medical supplies and fuel needed to run generators. Medical personnel are struggling to care for the overwhelming number of wounded civilians. Only 35 physicians remain in the city and over 100 people are in need of medical evacuation, according to SAMSs Aleppo Coordinator, Dr. Abo El-Ezz.
Targeting healthcare facilities and civilians has become an unacceptable norm in Syria. These attacks are illegal and violate basic human rights and international law. Unless the international community holds perpetrators of these violations accountable, our doctors, nurses, and medical personnel will continue to be targeted and killed. The intense destruction of hospitals and civilian infrastructure in Aleppo aims to uproot families from the city. The international community must enforce previous UN Security Council Resolutions that prohibit the targeting of healthcare and allow critical cross-border relief work. We must stand with medical workers and call on policymakers to take urgent and effective action. We support the UN Secretary-Generals call for the referral of the Syrian case to the International Criminal Court, said SAMS President, Dr. Ahmad Tarakji.
SAMS strongly condemns the ongoing and systematic targeting of healthcare facilities across Syria, particularly the intensified aerial bombardment campaign over Aleppo. The international community must call for an end to the siege of Aleppo, the allowance of immediate medical evacuations, and a halt to attacks against civilians and medical infrastructure immediately.
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