Russian and Syrian forces must end deliberate attacks on hospitals

People carry a stretcher after Doctors Without Borders hospital hit by Russian air strike. OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP/Getty Images
Press Release
February 16, 2016

Russian and Syrian forces must end deliberate attacks on hospitals

Attacks on at least two medical facilities in Syria today are just the latest of scores of apparently deliberate attacks on hospitals, clinics and medical personnel being committed in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, Amnesty International said.

“Russian and Syrian forces know full well that deliberate attacks on medical facilities are war crimes. All parties to the conflict must cease such horrific attacks, stop destroying medical facilities and allow medical workers to carry out their life-saving work without fear of being killed or injured in the line of duty,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

According to the humanitarian NGO Médecins sans Frontières , a field hospital it supports near Maaret al-Numan, Idleb governorate, was hit by four missiles this morning amid Russian air raids in the area. The facility lies in ruins and at least nine civilians were reported killed, seven of them staff members.

There are reports of other medical facilities elsewhere also seemingly targeted, including a maternal and children’s hospital in Azaz, north of Aleppo. At least one surface-to-surface missile, believed to have been fired by Syrian government forces, struck a few meters outside it, reportedly killing at least two civilians.  

The NGO Physicians for Human Rights has been tracking attacks on health care workers and infrastructure amid the Syrian conflict . Before today’s assaults, the group had already documented 336 attacks on medical facilities, with 697 personnel killed. Syrian government and allied forces are suspected of carrying out the vast majority of such attacks.