'Massive funding drop' in northwest Syria creating health crisis, says Amnesty International
A cut in international aid to northwest Syria is causing a health crisis in the area, Amnesty International said on Thursday, as healthcare facilities struggle to operate with low resources.
Doctors and other healthcare professionals in northwest Syria told the human rights organisation that they were having to turn away people in desperate need of care because of shortages in essential medicines and cuts to services, after major donors including the UK and the US slashed aid to Syria in 2021.
"This past year’s massive funding drop has immediately translated into the closure of hospitals and vital services, and has left millions of Syrians – who have already suffered conflict and violence - struggling to access medication and other essential health care," said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
Much of northwest Syria is controlled by armed opposition group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). Healthcare facilities in the area rely entirely on funding from the international aid to provide free health services and medication.
The warning from Amnesty came before an international aid conference set to take place in Brussels next week.
Maalouf said donors should prioritise funding for healthcare and other essential services.
"Donors have the power to rectify this devastating situation. Their decisions have a direct impact on people’s access to healthcare at a time when they are suffering more than ever. What is happening in northwest Syria right now is a terrible humanitarian crisis," Maalouf said.
Also on Thursday, UK-based charity Syria Relief said that more than 40,000 Syrian children are out of school because of British funding cuts.