Islamic State closes women's clinics in Syria's Raqqa

Islamic State closes women's clinics in Syria's Raqqa
In another assault on women's rights, the Islamic State group has shut down women's clinics supervised by male doctors in the Syrian city of Raqqa to 'stop genders mixing'.
2 min read
30 October, 2015
IS has created a severe crisis for women's health in areas under its control [AFP]
The so-called Islamic State group [IS] has reportedly closed down all women's clinics supervised by male doctors in areas it controls in Syria, plunging the region's female health system into a greater crisis.

According to activists, the closing of the clinics reflects the group's belief that men and women should not be allowed to mix.

The rights group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently reported on Wednesday night that doctors in Raqqa were being threatened and harassed.

"A lot of doctors have [already] left, especially gynaecologists who were barred from practising their work and [threatened] with death," said the group's founder Abu Mohammed.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also confirmed that all women's clinics in Raqqa, that are overseen by men, had been shut down.

The London-based network of activists had previously reported on the closure of women's clinics in smaller provinces held by the extremist group.

"People expressed their resentment over these steps taken by IS regarding health and medical staff in the city, which already suffers from a lack of female medical staff," it said in a statement.

The news website Syria Direct reported that on October 27, IS closed down the Kharita hospital - the only hospital open in western Deir e-Zor.

It also banned all male doctors from practising obstetrics and gynaecology.

This leaves residents in the area with no local source of medical care, forcing them to travel either to Raqqa or the eastern countryside, where there are five female OB/GYNs and a number of midwives, according to Mujahid a-Shami, founder of the Deir e-Zor is Being Slaughtered Silently media campaign.

The extremist group has been known for attacking women's rights.

It has previously been accused of fostering a culture of rape, forcing girls into marriage, persecuting doctors and commandeering medicines for the exclusive use of militants.