Mapped: Where Airstrikes in Syria Are Targeting Medical Workers
A new report released by Physicians for Human Rights maps attacks on Syrian hospitals.
Nearly five years of civil war have taken their toll on Syria: More than 250,000 are dead, 13.5 million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance, 6.5 million are internally displaced, and millions more have fled the country as refugees.
And on Wednesday, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) released a new report documenting how the Syrian regime has systematically targeted the only people left who can save Syria’s most desperately sick and injured: medical workers.
According to PHR, Russia, which joined the fight in Syria to bolster embattled President Bashar al-Assad, has also routinely targeted hospitals and clinics. Since Moscow launched its airstrike campaign at the end of September, Russian bombs have hit at least 10 medical facilities, resulting in injuries, collateral damage, and even the death of at least one medical staffer.
The Russian strikes on medical facilities add to a misery that has become the de facto norm for the Syrian medical community: Since 2011, there have been at least 329 attacks on medical facilities and 687 medical personnel have been killed, according to the report. Roughly 90 percent of those attacks were carried out by the Syrian regime, which the aid group alleges constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. At least four of the facilities targeted by Russian strikes last month had already been barrel bombed or otherwise attacked by Syrian forces. According to PHR, “the Syrian government’s ongoing assault on health care is one of the most egregious the world has ever seen.”
According to the group, at least one strike was also carried out by coalition forces.
Nowhere have attacks been worse than in Aleppo, where two-thirds of the city’s hospitals are no longer functioning and 95 percent of medical workers have fled, been detained, or killed, according to the report. In 2010, there was roughly one doctor for every 800 people. Today, there is one for every 7,000.
Below, Foreign Policy has embedded a map provided by PHR that documents all known attacks on medical facilities in Syria since 2011.