Syrian doctors stop sharing Idlib hospital coordinates with UN after repeated regime, Russian attacks

Syrian doctors stop sharing Idlib hospital coordinates with UN after repeated regime, Russian attacks
Doctors in Idlib will stop sharing coordinates with the UN after eight hospitals that previously shared their locations were deliberately targeted by the Syrian regime and Russia.
3 min read
04 June, 2019
A wounded child receives treatment in a hospital in Saraqib following an air attack [Getty]
Doctors in Idlib province will stop sharing coordinates of hospitals and clinics with the United Nations after medical facilities were systematically targeted by the Assad regime and Russia.

At least 24 hospitals have been destroyed or damaged by airstrikes since the start of a Russian-backed regime assault on rebel-held Idlib province in late April. Around 300 civilians have been killed and 300,000 displaced.

The hospitals included a major provider of trauma care sponsored by Islamic Relief. At least eight of the attacked hospitals had provided their coordinates to OCHA, the UN’s humanitarian office, which passed them on to the regime and Russia, in the hope that this would keep the hospitals safe.

"There is a lot of anger among heads of hospitals in the region because all of the hospitals which had shared their coordinates with the UN before had been directly targeted," Yahya Naama, a doctor living in Idlib province, said 

The head of the Idlib Health Directorate's media office, Imad al-Zahran, told The New Arab: "We won't share the coordinates of our medical facilities with any regional or international body, because we are sure that this entire world is cooperating in killing, exterminating, and displacing us."

"We are sure that there is no international body which is serious about protecting us and our medical points," he added.

Syrians in opposition-held areas have felt increasingly abandoned by the world as Western and Arab countries have refused to go beyond verbal condemnation of the regime's attacks on civilians.

More than 500,000 Syrians have been killed and millions displaced ever since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011.

At least 566 attacks on medical facilities have been documented by the US-based NGO Physicians for Human Rights since 2011 and humanitarian organizations have had to resort to building hospitals underground or in caves to prevent them from being bombed.

On Tuesday, Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution expressing concern over the fate of civilians and the possibility of a humanitarian disaster in Idlib province.

The resolution, tabled by Belgium, Kuwait and Germany, called for humanitarian access, safe return of refugees, and adherence to international law on protecting civilians.

Russia has vetoed multiple UN Security Council resolutions on Syria since 2011, including resolutions which would have allowed the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to determine accountability for chemical weapons attacks.

On Tuesday, four civilians were killed in airstrikes and shelling of opposition-held areas of Idlib province and neighbouring Hama province as people were preparing to celebrate Eid. The casualties included one child.

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