Toronto, Ontario. (July 29, 2016), A “Syrian Relief” maternity hospital in Kafer Takhareem (Idlib, Syria) was hit by an airstrike hours ago. The hospital serves a population of 1,300 women and performs roughly 300 deliveries per month. The next closest hospital is 43 miles away. Syrian Relief is an affiliate of UOSSM and the hospital is supported by Save The Children. Latest reports indicate 5 civilians killed and 13 wounded.
In the past 10 days, 4 hospitals and a blood bank in Aleppo were attacked by air strikes leaving the majority of the population without access to health care. The conflict after 6 years has entered a new level of atrocity with the use of heavy artillery and airstrikes targeting civilian areas. Over 500,000 Syrians have died and more than 1,000,000 now have some type of disability such as amputated limbs according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights. Military policies such as food deprivation, the destruction of health care facilities and the targeting of media/medical staff are commonplace.
“22 years ago the world said the horror that was the Rwandan Genocide would never be repeated. We, the international community and the UN, failed to protect 1,000,000 Rwandans. History remembers this. We cannot make the same mistake again. ” – Said Dr. David Nott (UK War Surgeon who has worked in Syria With UOSSM / Syrian Relief along with mission to Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur, Haiti).
In the past 5 years, at least 650 medical workers have lost their lives and hospitals have faced hundreds of military and aerial attacks. In 2015, 250 attacks damaged or completely destroyed hospitals and health facilities. In 2016, more than 80 hospitals and medical points were targeted, and over 80 health and humanitarian workers were killed, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights. The targeting of medical workers has provoked a situation in which we estimate 10,000 specialist doctors have fled the country, causing a massive breakdown in the healthcare system. 40% of the population has no access to primary health care at a time when it is most needed.