WHO: Alarming Spike in Attacks Against Health Workers, Facilities in Syria

Lisa Schlein

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — The World Health Organization reports an alarming spike in violence against medical and humanitarian workers and health care facilities in war-torn Syria.

The World Health Organization reports it has verified dozens of attacks on health care facilities, ambulances, services and workers in Syria's combat zones this year.

WHO's monitoring system reports 28 hospitals and other facilities last month were targeted in eastern Ghouta, which currently is under relentless air and ground attack from Syrian forces and their Russian ally. Spokesman Christian Lindmeier said health care facilities also were hit in Idlib and Homs.

"In all, the 67 verified attacks on health facilities and workers in the first two months of this year amount to more than 50 percent of verified attacks in all of 2017, which totaled 112…These unacceptable attacks resulted in the deaths of 19 people, among them four health workers.The attacks also left 28 people injured, seven of them medical staff," he said.

Lindmeier said the attacks have had devastating consequences for the civilian population in these combat zones.In the month of February alone, he says violent incidents disrupted 15,000 medical consultations and nearly 1,500 surgeries, many life-saving.

The World Health Organization is calling on all of Syria's warring parties to immediately stop attacking people caring for the sick and wounded.It warns attacks against medical facilities and medical personnel are prohibited under International Humanitarian Law and, in certain instances, may amount to war crimes.