In light of the recent outbreak of conflict in Ukraine, the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) stands in solidarity with the civilians whose lives have been so profoundly impacted by the onset of this conflict. We affirm that civilians have the right to live peaceful lives with access to necessary services, and should their safety be in jeopardy, that they should be free to seek refuge elsewhere. Furthermore, as the WHO has confirmed one attack on a health facility and is working to confirm others, we condemn violence on health facilities in the strongest possible terms. We affirm civilians’ right to health, and urge Russian forces to abide by international humanitarian law.

The hardships the people of Ukraine now face are all too familiar to the Syrian community. Syrians have also experienced the violation of their most basic rights and the trauma of being uprooted from their homes. The scene now playing out in Kyiv brings with it echoes of the horrors witnessed by Aleppo, East Ghouta, and elsewhere in Syria. We send our deepest condolences and sincerest solidarity to those who are now experiencing this loss. The response to displacement from neighboring countries has been commendable. We urge European states to continue to welcome refugees equitably and compassionately as they seek safety and dignity. 

“The suffering we now see in Ukraine is profoundly tragic,” said Dr. Amjad Rass, SAMS president. He continued: “We have seen similar suffering in Syria, and hope with all our hearts that the people of Ukraine will soon find safety, stability, and dignity. Indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure are abhorrent acts, and cannot be allowed. We stand in solidarity with those who are currently being attacked and displaced. The struggle against violence and for human dignity is one we now share.” 

While we hope that this conflict will end soon, in the meantime, we must continue to call for protections for civilians and civilian infrastructure and ensure that civilians have access to essential goods and services, whether in Ukraine, or in displacement. Furthermore, the right to health is an inalienable right; civilians and health workers alike must have assurances that health facilities will not be targets of violence. From Aleppo to Kyiv, we stand together in support of human dignity and peace.