Statement is attributable to Yacoub El Hillo, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria and Kevin Kennedy, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Crisis in Syria
(Damascus, 16 February 2016) Yesterday, reports indicate that six hospitals and one primary health care facility were damaged or destroyed in air attacks in northern and southern Syria, including the only operational hospital in Azaz, cutting off health services to tens of thousands of people and reportedly resulting in civilian casualties, including medical workers. Two of the hospitals were supported by the United Nations. Two schools were also struck in northern Syria on the same day. This follows reports of 13 attacks damaging hospitals in the last month.
All seven reported health facilities are now out of service, of which three are permanently closed. The facilities were on average providing 23,000 consultations, 1,045 surgeries and 550 deliveries per month. The loss of the provision of these medical services, including surgical and reproductive health services, will have a staggering effect on vulnerable communities affected by this conflict.
The United Nations humanitarian agencies condemn the destruction of facilities critical to communities’ health, education and well-being and which particularly affect women, children and those being treated in hospital. Directing attacks against civilian infrastructure such as medical facilities may amount to a war crime.
The United Nations demands an end to attacks on health facilities and schools and calls on all parties to the conflict to take all measures to protect civilians, as required under International Humanitarian Law.
For further information, please contact:
Ghalia Seifo, Damascus, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +963 953 300 078
Linda Tom, Amman, email@example.com, Tel: +962 791417882
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.