Washington DC- Another hospital was attacked and put out of service today in Idlib, Syria. The Sham 4 hospital in Kafr Nabl was attacked at 6:30 a.m. Damascus time by three airstrikes, one of the missiles penetrated through three stories of the building, causing major destruction and putting the hospital out of service.
According to Hama Health Directorate the hospital was damaged along with medical equipment, emergency vehicles, and the electrical grid. The hospital director, Dr Maram Al-Shaykh Mustafa said, “We can’t even fully evaluate the extent of the damage because of how bad it is.” The hospital provided care to a catchment area of 600,000 people, serving 4,000 patients a month and performing 400 surgical operations a month.
In addition, a SAMS Neurospinal Injuries Rehabilitation Center in Douma, Damascus, was also attacked with strikes today killing four civilians, two of which were paralyzed, and injuring 25 civilians, patients and White Helmets.
Last week three hospitals and a PHC were attacked leaving three completely out of service and one partially operating. According to sources on the ground, in the past 72 hours there have been over 500 airstrikes, killing over 45 civilians, and targeting medical facilities, Syrian Civil Defense Centers, and even a school which sheltered internally displaced persons.
Dr. Tawfik Chamaa, Spokesman of UOSSM said, “Today’s attack on the Sham Hospital proves once again that the targeting of hospitals is a strategy of war in Syria. Bombing hospitals represents a clear violation of international humanitarian laws and UNSC resolution 2286 (2016).”
Dr. Chamaa added, “This morning’s attack was the fifth within a week, and was clearly intended to undermine civil society’s capacity to provide basic services to communities in areas of conflict. This is particularly shocking at a time when the international community and the European Union are concentrating on recovery and stabilization efforts in Syria.”
“Parties that deliberately bomb hospitals and medical workers cannot possibly serve as credible partners in the recovery of civilian life in Syria,” Dr. Chamaa added, “Instead the international community should channel its support to civil society actors on the ground, which have a proven track record of successfully implementing early recovery. In parallel, UOSSM calls for an end to the shelling of civilians and demands that the international community take all necessary steps to protect all civilians in Syria, irrespective of their political, religious or ethnic background.”
Kathleen Rowan, CEO of UOSSM USA said, ” “It’s a disgrace to see this type of violence return after months of hope for de-escalation, and an end to the bloodshed. Attacking hospitals, medical, and civilian facilities is a crime of war and must be stopped immediately. We call on all responsible parties in the international community to put an end to this recent streak of violence before we have another area of complete destruction as we have in Aleppo.”
In light of the new wave of hospital bombings in Idlib, UOSSM has launched a petition to governments around the world to stop the attacks on health care workers. The ‘Doctors In Danger’ petition has already received over 43,000 signatures in under a week.
We kindly ask the press to share this petition.
Video of the wreckage: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1oIZsVkfBsxZHBSc1k0TVZNSWM/view?usp=sharing