North-Western Syria: Doctors of the World Condemns the Bombing and Targeting of Healthcare Facilities

(Paris, 12 January 2018) Since the end of 2017, Médecins du Monde – Doctors of the World (MdM) has faced a deteriorating situation in Idlib and Hama Governorates in north-western Syria.

Although the ongoing diplomatic negotiations imply that the war is over, continued bombing is killing civilians, deliberately targeting hospitals and resulting in major displacements of people. MdM calls on the parties involved to respect International Humanitarian Law and to put an end to the suffering of the civilian population.

This is our report from the ground at the end of the first week of January 2018:

- On 2 January, a hospital in Kafr Zeita (Hama Governorate) came under fire from the air. The building has since been unusable.

- On 3 January, a paediatric hospital in Ma’arrat An Nu’man (Idlib Governorate) was hit by bombing, killing four civilians and injuring two healthcare workers. The building has been unusable since the bombing.

- On 7 January, a primary healthcare centre supported by a local NGO was targeted by an aerial attack, which damaged a storage facility, a waiting room and a vaccination room.

- On the evening of 7 January, an explosion in the city of Idlib resulted in 30 casualties and 100 people being injured, including a surgeon. The health centre providing paediatric, gynaecological and internal medicine services to the west of the city was affected.

The virtually daily shelling of north-western Syria has led to the displacement of tens of thousands of people. The MdM teams are organising to respond to the health needs and the humanitarian crisis.

Dr Françoise Sivignon, President of MdM, said: “We call on the parties involved in the conflict to declare an immediate ceasefire and to find a lasting solution for the civilian populations who are suffering and fleeing the fighting. We remind them that International Humanitarian Law is not optional. We are particularly alarmed by attacks targeting hospitals and healthcare workers. We demand that access to healthcare as well as the safety of civilians and healthcare workers be guaranteed in all circumstances.”

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