Airstrike damages Handicap International-supported hospital

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A Handicap International-supported hospital in the governorate of Dar’a (South Syria) was indirectly hit by an airstrike on the evening of February 13. The strike injured several staff members, and damaged the building.

According to Handicap International’s partner, wounded staff members include three medical personnel and one administrative employee. They are currently getting treated for their injuries in another medical facility. The warehouse of the hospital as well as its operating room and administrative units are now partially destroyed and out of service. In addition, due to clashes, airstrikes and shelling over the last four days, more than 12,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in the same area.

Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, more than 450 health structures have been attacked, and more than 750 medical personnel have been killed, according to the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations. In 2016 alone, more than 200 attacks on health care facilities were reported inside Syria. Hospitals continue to be targeted regularly in the country, directly and indirectly, each time causing injuries, deaths and destruction.

“It is unacceptable for health structures to be damaged or destroyed by attacks, depriving those worst affected by the conflict of essential care,” says Jean-Pierre Delomier, head of Humanitarian Action at Handicap International. “The international community must strongly condemn these attacks and use its leverage to stop them. Parties to the conflict should abide by their obligations and put an end to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas”

Handicap International launched an international campaign and created a petition to end the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. The organization calls on States to work toward a political declaration to bring an end to this practice, and to recognize its direct impact on civilian lives.