For Immediate Release
October 22, 2015
Washington, DC – Around 1pm on Tuesday, October 20, a SAMS polyclinic in Sarmin, Idlib was targeted by Russian airstrikes using air-to-surface missiles. Roughly ten minutes after the first strike, during which time medical personnel and civilians rushed to the hospital to rescue the injured, the hospital was targeted again, causing severe injuries to medical staff and civilians in the area. At least 28 civilians were injured, including a SAMS staff member who is in critical condition and a child under the age of 5. Two medical personnel, a physiotherapist, Hassan Taj al-Din, and a hospital guard, Khaldoun Abu Den, and 10 civilians were killed in this attack. The hospital and the surrounding area suffered major damage. Dr. Taj al-Din leaves behind his 4 month pregnant wife. SAMS mourns the loss of our heroic medical staff.
“When I am in the hospital, I feel like I am sitting on a bomb. It is only a matter of time until it explodes. It is wrong- a hospital should not be the most dangerous place. I wish I could say that targeting a hospital in Syria is unique, but is not. The field hospital I direct in Sarmin has been targeted and hit by airstrikes more than a dozen times – by the Syrian government and now by the Russian government. We’ve seen too many civilians and medical staff die in our hospital to count. The hardest part is knowing that these attacks will happen again- the UN and international community needs to enforce their own resolutions and commitments to upholding international law, and prevent more attacks against hospitals,” said Dr. Tennari, the director the Sarmin field hospital in Idlib.
“Civilians continue to face unimaginable violence in Syria. We call on the international community to use all means necessary to end attacks on civilians and to prevent the further targeting of healthcare facilities in Syria,” said Dr. Ahmad Tarakji, President of SAMS.
Any and all indiscriminate or targeted attacks on civilian areas and medical facilities constitute grave violations of international humanitarian law. SAMS is concerned about the continuation of airstrikes on healthcare facilities and urges the international community to hold perpetrators accountable and prioritize civilian protection in Syria.
For media requests, please contact SAMS’s Advocacy and Communications Manager Kat Fallon at [email protected].