Rights Group: Assad & Allies’ Targeting of Hospitals Aims to Displace Local Residents
The deliberate, systematic targeting of hospitals by the Assad regime and its allies is intended to send a clear message to the local population to leave their homes or they will be killed, said Fadil Abdul Ghani, director of the Syrian Network for Human Rights.
Abdul Ghani said that the Assad regime seeks to make life in the opposition areas impossible and force the remaining people to leave.
The targeting of medical facilities, sometimes with the use of chemical weapons, by the Assad regime and Russian air forces is primarily aimed at spreading panic and fear among the civilian population.
Less than 10 days before the chemical attack on the area took place on April 4, the Alrahma underground hospital in the town of Khan Sheikhoun was the fifth hospital to be destroyed by air strikes, local activists confirmed.
On 25 March, the Lataminah surgical hospital in rural Hama was hit with barrel bombs, putting it out of service, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said.
Shortly after the attack on the Lataminah hospital, four Russian airstrikes hit the main hospital in the town of Kafranbel in rural Idlib, putting out of service.
Airstrikes also hit the medical center in the town of Kafranbouda in northern rural Hama on 28 March, putting it out of service. Fighter jets fired six missiles destroying the National Hospital in the town of Maaret Alnouman in rural Idlib.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights said it has documented 86 attacks on vital civilian facilities by regime's forces and their Russian ally, including 13 hospitals and medical centers as well as three ambulances.
In a preliminary report published in April, the Syrian Civil Defense counted 14 attacks on hospitals and medical centers, the most recent of which was on April 27 and targeted the Syrian University Hospital in southern rural Idlib.
Former director of health sector in Idlib province Munzir Khalil said that out of 45 operating hospitals in Idlib province, 40 have been directly targeted by the Assad regime and Russian air forces in recent weeks. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Al-Hayat Newspaper)