Syria regime forces strike medical facilities Idlib

Syria regime forces strike medical facilities Idlib
Two medical facilities were attacked in Idlib, while a human rights group says that 37 medical centres in north Syria have been targeted by regime forces since April.
3 min read
05 November, 2019
Medical facilities were bombed in Idlib (UOSSM)
Two medical facilities were attacked on Monday in Jisr Al Shughour, a town in the rebel-held province of Idlib in north Syria, as a human rights group says that more than 37 medical centres have been targeted in the latest regime offensive.

An ambulance point was hit by artillery strikes early afternoon, according to a press release from the Union of Medical Care and relief Organisations (UOSSM) - a coalition of medical services who provide support to Syria. 

The Jisr Al Shughour Health Centre was subsequently attacked by artiliary strikes at 3:30 pm, according to the organisation, adding that the Central Hospital also reported "numerous rocket strikes" targeting the area near the facility.

A source from Syria's Civil Defense units told The New Arab Arabic service that artillery and rocket shelling targeted a civil defense team in Jisr al-Shughour, which was inspecting the scene of a previous bombardment.  The attack reportedly injured three volunteers and destoyed an ambulance.

Meanwhile regime forces also targeted the city of Kafrnubl, south of Idlib, and its surroundings with surface-to-surface missiles, The New Arab correspondant reported. 

"We are deeply disturbed that our primary health care center was attacked today. This center provided over 14,600 services a month to people that that are in need medical care," Dr. Khaula Sawah, Vice President of UOSSM-USA said in the press statement.

Read more: Syrians flee Idlib for miserable displacement camps

 The charity stressed that health centre provided care to "over 9,600 beneficiaries a month", who will now no longer be able to receive treatment in the clinic. 

"It is appalling that these targeted attacks continue on medical facilities with complete impunity, when attacks on medical facilities are a war crime. We call on the international community to take action and stop these crimes," Sawah said.

The Syrian regime and her Russian allies have attracted condemnation for targeting medical facilities and civilian infrastructure during the Syrian war.  Such attacks have forced mass internal displacement of civilians in north Syria into refugee camps and across the border into Turkey.  

"We have been following the attacks against medical centres, and actually not only is targeting the medical centre is a goal itself, its a strategy.  Its not random shelling," Fadel Abdul Ghany, chairman of the Syria Network for Human Rights told The New Arab.   

"Those attacks which are carried out by the regime and Russia, they carry out intelligence to find out where the facilities are.  Almost all of the medical facilities in Idlib have been targeted.  Some of those were targeted more than once," he said.  

"It terrifies the people and forces them to leave, but its more than that.  Its a type of punishment for the whole community, so even injured people suffer."

Following calls from international human rights organisations and members of the UN security council, the UN announced an investigation into the targeting of medical facilities by the regime and Russia since 2018.  

"There have been 37 medical centres targeted since the 26 April, the start of this campaign against north-West Syria by Russian and regime forces.  Some of those were targeted more than once," Ghany said, adding that 24 such attacks were carried out by the Syrian regime, while 13 were perpetrated by Russia.

Despite a Russia brokered truce on August 31 between regime and opposition forces in north Syria, Russian and regime forces have continued their bombardment on north Syria.

Last week, head of the Syrian regime president Bashar al-Assad threatened rebels in Idlib with war unless they surrendered, saying that the goal was to return areas in Syria, including zones dominated by Kurdish forces, to "complete control of the State".

The Syrian conflict broke out in 2011, after the Assad regime brutally cracked down on protesters, some of whom consequently armed themselves, forming the beginning of the armed opposition movement. 

This article was edited to include comments from the SNHR

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