For Immediate Release
June 7, 2017
Washington, D.C. – In recent days, the aerial bombardment campaign over Dara’a has intensified. According to reports from the ground, in the first five days of June, there have been approximately 330 direct fire activities, including air raids, explosive barrels, artillery, rockets, explosive cylinders, and explosive charges. These attacks have been carried out by the Syrian government and its allies, and represent a dramatic increase from the 165 aerial attacks which took place last month.
On June 2, approximately 4,000 civilians of the town of Noaimah were forced to evacuate. SAMS-supported hospital in Al-Noaimah, the only hospital in the area, was bombed out of service. On June 4, warplanes targeted the city of Dar’a, a refugee camp, and al-Sad Road neighborhoods with 120 IRAM (“Fil”) missiles, 53 explosive barrels, 25 air raids, explosive cylinders, and artillery shells, killing three civilians and a Civil Defense volunteer. Several days prior to these attacks, warplanes targeted the agricultural fields in Da’el, burning the crops and destroying a key source of food for the local population.
The current escalation in aerial and artillery attacks on Dara’a al-Balad, Al-Sad Road, and Dara’a Camp has had a devastating impact on civilians.
“The local population in Dara’a is helpless in the face of these heinous and systematic attacks. No place is safe, not even the hospital. Unless the international community acts immediately to halt these indiscriminate attacks on civilians and to protect medical facilities, the violence will only worsen,” said Dr. Ahmad Tarakji, president of the Syrian American Medical Society.
“Medecins du Monde condemns these violations of international humanitarian law in the strongest terms and calls upon the United Nations and all parties to the conflict to respect the Geneva Conventions and existing UN resolutions in order to allow innocent civilians to exercise their right to health care,” said Dr. Ron Waldman, president of Doctors of the World USA.
The Syrian American Medical Society and Medecins du Monde strongly condemn these aerial attacks on civilian infrastructure and urge the international community to intervene as the humanitarian situation in Dara’a worsens. We call on all parties involved to end the targeting of hospitals, and for humanitarian aid to be delivered to the local population. Civilians must be allowed access to healthcare, a basic human right. Finally, the international community must ensure that health workers and medical facilities are considered a neutral party and treated as such. Therefore, we call for an end to the targeting of medical facilities, and urge the international community to hold the perpetrators of these attacks accountable.