Iraq

Humanitarian suffering deepens in seiged Iraqi city of Samarra

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Doctors for Iraq is gravely concerned about the humanitarian and health needs of residents of the Iraqi city of Samara that has been under siege by US and Iraqi troops for the past two weeks.

Samara, 124 km north of Baghdad is one the largest cities in the Salah Aldeen governorate with an estimated population of 200 000 inhabitants. The city has come under a number of US and Iraqi military attacks in the past nine months.

US and Iraqi troops have encircled the city from all sides with soldiers placing very strict control on the movement of people entering and leaving the city. Soldiers claim that insurgents and terrorists are operating in the area. The military operation is crippling the inhabitants of the city and civilians are unable to access healthcare. Doctors for Iraq condemns in the strongest terms any activities that prevent civilians from accessing healthcare or humanitarian assistance by all actors engaged in the conflict.

Doctors for Iraq has received detailed information about the impact of the ongoing military siege on the cities inhabitants. The main hospital in the city which was already short of medical supplies before this latest military operation says it's in urgent need of medication to treat hypertension, diabetes and chronic surgical diseases.

Doctors for Iraq has been told the extended hours of curfew especially inside the city it self , the strict and restricted movement of civilians through heavily armed military checkpoints at the cities entrances has severely restricted civilians access to health services. Some inhabitants and local NGOs report a shortage of food and are calling for food supplies to be allowed into the city.

Doctors for Iraq calls for:

1. The immediate and full lifting of the military siege of Samara as these kind of military actions are an act of collective punishment on the cities inhabitants and cause deeper hardship for people.

2. Immediate and full access for local NGOs and health workers into the city. For food and humanitarian aid to be allowed into the city so people can be given safe, free and immediate access to food and medicines.

3. The government of Iraq to bring an end to all military activities that breach the Geneva Conventions and discriminate against unarmed civilians.

ENDS

For more information contact DFI press officer at press.officer@doctorsforiraq.org or Dr Salam Ismael at salam.obaidi@doctorsforiraq.org