For Immediate Release
July 18, 2016
Washington, D.C.- On Saturday, July 16, a SAMS-supported hospital in eastern Aleppo City was hit by four barrel bombs, four naval mines, and two air-to-surface missiles, severely injuring six medical personnel and seven patients. The hospital was severely damaged and the nearby SAMS-supported nursing school was completely destroyed. The hospital is currently out of service.
This attack follows multiple attacks late last week. On Thursday, July 14, a major hospital in eastern ?Aleppo? City was hit by a cluster bomb, killing two medical personnel and injuring a number of civilians. In another attack on the same day, another hospital in Kafr Hamra was completely destroyed by air-to-surface missiles and airstrikes, killing five medical personnel and injuring four medical staff and a number of patients. On Friday, July 15, less than 24 hours after the previous two attacks on the same day, a third hospital, north of Aleppo City, was completely destroyed by an airstrike.
They do notallow civilians to leave and constantly bomb them from the air, said Dr. Ousama Abo El-Ezz, a general surgeon and SAMSs Aleppo Coordinator. Castello Road is the only road for transports, including medical supplies, food, and everyday necessities. It is the only road to transfer patients and severely injured civilians.
Since early April, there has been a dramatic escalation of violence in eastern Aleppo City. Between April 22 and July 11, 805 civilians have been killed, including 179 children. At least 5,000 have been injured. Castello Road, the only humanitarian access road into eastern Aleppo City has been completely cut off through sustained aerial bombardment, making it impassable and effectively besieging an estimated 400,000 civilians. Only 40 doctors and dentists remain in the city.
People in Aleppo are like bugs being crushed and the world has abandoned them,” said a SAMS-supported nurse in Aleppo.
Three SAMS doctors, Dr. Zaher Sahloul, Dr. John Khaler, and Dr. Samer Attar, recently returned from eastern Aleppo City, where they witnessed daily massacres and atrocities of life under constant bombardment and siege.
Every car was a target. There were car wrecks everywhere and scary stench of death. Dead bodies of victims were trapped in the burnt out cars and buses and no one dared to bury them, said SAMSs Dr. Zaher Sahloul.
Dr. Samer Attar spent two weeks working at a SAMS-supported underground facility. He described his experience while at the hospital, “There were so many people trying to get through the front door, there was no place to put them except for side by side on the same bed. When we ran out of beds we placed them on the floor. Dead bodies, we had to wrap them in white shrouds and place them into the streets to make room for incoming injured.”
The ICU at the SAMS-supported hospital has beds occupied by victims of barrel bombs, said Dr. Sahloul.
All of them are children and women. Doctors pleaded with us to tell the world to keep Castello Road open so they can evacuate their patients and get lifesaving supplies.”
Mustafa, 7, lost his two brothers, Ando, 9, and Eliaf, 5, on vicious barrel attacks on his house in eastern Aleppo City. His mother, who was 3-months pregnant, was severely injured and lost her baby. Her condition remains critical.
I would like the world to look at the eyes of Mustafa and tell him why we failed to protect his mother, siblings, and his home,” said Dr. Zaher Sahloul.
As the violence continues to escalate, previously stockpiled medical supplies are running out. If civilians continue to be trapped and targeted, hospitals, already overwhelmed, will be unable to handle the large number of incoming trauma and critical care cases.
It is essential that Castello Road remains open so that food, medical supplies, fuel for ambulances and hospitals, and humanitarian assistance are able to reach the people of eastern Aleppo City. As it is also the main evacuation route from Aleppo City. Castello Road must remain open to allow freedom of movement for civilians, in particular for critical medical cases.
SAMS strongly condemns the continued tactic of targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, particularly medical facilities in eastern Aleppo City and throughout Syria. SAMS calls for an end to these vicious attacks and for immediate, sufficient, and sustained humanitarian access into eastern Aleppo City. SAMS urges the international community to act immediately and with urgency to end the siege of eastern Aleppo and to protect medical personnel and civilians trapped inside.
For press and media requests, contact SAMS’s Media and Communications, Lobna Hassairi at [email protected].