For Immediate Release
August 17, 2015
Washington, DC – Over the last few days, SAMS health workers have treated hundreds of patients from the Syrian government’s deadly airstrikes on Douma, Rural Damascus. Residential neighborhoods and the central market have been targeted using heat-seeking missiles. There have been 112 people killed so far from these attacks, including many children and women, with at least 400 injuries. A SAMS-supported field hospital in Douma received 289 injured patients so far, the majority of whom were in need of surgery.
In response these brutal attacks, SAMS is providing a $100,000 emergency allocation to medical programs and supplies provision in Douma. SAMS is calling for additional donors and supporters to help bring supplies and medication to Douma. U.S.-based SAMS critical care specialists are providing tele-ICU care to Douma based field hospitals, using satellite internet to consult, advise, and support local health professionals in real time. The tele-ICU support has been operating on 24-hour capacity for the last two days.
These attacks on Douma come as UN Humanitarian Chief Stephen O’Brien was visiting Damascus, only 10 miles away from Douma, assessing humanitarian needs. They also come only a few days after U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power condemned government air attacks on civilians.
For more than three years, Douma has been under siege and access to food, electricity, water, and medical care has been denied. SAMS calls for Douma to be designated a disaster zone, and for the UN to work urgently with the Syrian government to allow immediate access of aid into Douma.
SAMS condemns in the strongest possible terms the current attacks on Douma, as well as the ongoing targeting of hospitals, schools, markets, and civilian areas and infrastructure. The targeting of civilians and siege of civilian areas are flagrant violations of international humanitarian law as per the Geneva Convention. SAMS demands the protection of civilians throughout Syria from aerial attacks and barrel bombs by all means necessary, including no-bombing zones.
For media inquiries, please contact SAMS’s Advocacy & Communications Manager, Kat Fallon, at [email protected].