Raqqa: Civilians under fire with no access to healthcare

Raqqa: Civilians under fire with no access to healthcare
It is currently impossible for a civilian to be admitted into a hospital in the Raqqa region, local media activists report as the WHO warns of Syria's failing healthcare system.
2 min read
23 March, 2017
A widow refugee who fled fighting and Islamic State in Raqqa [Anadolu]
There are currently no hospitals accepting civilian medical admissions left in Raqqa - as the World Health Organisation (WHO) reports more than half of Syria's public hospitals have closed nationally.

Of the many civilians wounded by recent coalition airstrikes - which killed around sixty people on Wednesday - none were able to be admitted to a hospital.

"The last hospital in Raqqa is now only treating Islamic State fighters," said Sarmad al-Jilane, coordinator of the media-activist group, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently.

"It's impossible for locals to get to a hospital."

A US-led coalition airstrike on a marketplace in the town of al-Tabqa, west of Raqqa, on Wednesday killed 25 people and injured 40 others.

It followed only hours after a separate bombing on a refugee centre killed 33 in Raqqa.

The news comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) warns that the state of Syria's health care system is failing nationwide.

As of February 2017, "56% of public hospitals and 53% of public health centres have either closed or are partially functioning, while 37% of public hospitals are inaccessible or hard-to-access due to the insecurity," the WHO said in its report.

syria health care
Click to expand: Syria's health care catastrophe

A recent study found that the Syrian regime directly targeted health care professionals and centres, killing more than 800 professionals since the civil war began.

The report found that the Syrian regime used healthcare as a "political tool" and had purposefully targeted hospitals in its bombing campaigns.

"Between July and December 2016, Syrian and Russian forces carried out daily airstrikes, claiming hundreds of lives and reducing hospitals, schools and markets to rubble," the report read.

"Fearing bombardments, civilians avoided hospitals, including pregnant women, who increasingly gave birth at home without medical assistance or opted for caesareans to avoid hours in labour in hospital."

According to independent monitors, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.