Six people, including a child, were killed and 16 other injured when Syria’s Bashar-al-Assad led government bombed a hospital in western Aleppo yesterday. The surgical hospital was run by Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), a partner organization of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and was located in the town of Al Atareb.
According to the IRC the hospital is now out of service. This leaves people in the war-torn region extremely vulnerable as medical aid is hard to come by amidst violence that has been going on for over ten years in the country.
Rehana Zawar, the International Rescue Committee’s Country Director for northwest Syria, said, “We utterly condemn this deadly attack on the surgical hospital in Atareb. 6 people have been killed, including a child, and 16 further civilians have been wounded, including 5 health staff. 4 of the injured are in a critical condition. Although SAMS shared the hospital’s coordinates through the UN’s notification system, it came under attack and has now been damaged so severely that it can no longer be used.”
Zawar further said, “This is the fifth attack on health care that has been recorded so far this year, and brings the total number of attacks on health care since January 2019 to 118. IRC-supported health facilities have been attacked 24 times since 2018 alone. Health facilities are protected under international law and should be safe havens in times of crisis, but after 10 years of war this is not the case in Syria. Since the start of the conflict, Physicians for Human Rights have documented close to 600 attacks on health care.” IRC has urged “all parties to the conflict to abide by the ceasefire, to uphold their obligations to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure and to work towards bringing a peaceful end to the war in Syria.”
Humanitarian organization White Helmets (Syrian Civil Defence) too condemned the attack as “a terrorist crime, and a new massacre, committed by the Assad regime” and “a blatant violation of international humanitarian law”.
Physicians for Human Rights also issued a statement condemning the attacks saying, “This deadly, appalling, and inhumane attack against medics and patients reveals once more the barbarism of the perpetrators, who continue to commit these grotesque crimes with utter impunity.” The statement further read, “A decade of war in Syria has been defined by the government’s brazen and illegal attacks on health. As we enter year 11 of the conflict, the Syrian government appears to be continuing its strategy of decimating hospitals and attacking medics.”
Meanwhile, the United States also condemned the attack saying, “Civilians, including civilian medical personnel and facilities, must never be the target of military action. This violence must stop – we reiterate our call for a nationwide ceasefire.” *Feature image courtesy White Helmets via Twitter.