The United Nations on Wednesday expressed concern about the continuing attacks on health-care infrastructure across Syria and attacks against civilians in Idlib province.
As of the end of May, a total of 59 attacks on health facilities have been documented, resulting in the deaths of 15 health workers, said Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General.
“In 2016, there were 136 health facilities attacked across Syria, which resulted in the death of 31 health-care workers,” Dujarric told a daily press briefing in New York.
Dujarric went on to say that at least eight attacks using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were reported in Idlib province last week. The deadliest attack took place in the town of Dana on 24 June, when at least three IEDs exploded in a public market area during Iftar time, reportedly resulting in the death of 10 people, including women and children.
Earlier in June, a report by a medical journal found that health care workers, clinics, and hospitals across Syria were attacked more than 400 times last year.
A total of 402 such attacks, many of them fatal, were registered between November 2015 and December 2016, researchers in the British-based The Lancet medical journal reported.
Nearly half of hospitals in the rebel-held areas were hit, a third of them more than once, during that period. The attacks killed 261 people and injured 700 more.
“The so-called weaponisation of health care, the purposeful use of violence to restrict or deny access to health care as a strategy of war, has reached unprecedented levels in Syria,” said authors of the report.
The data was collected using a WhatsApp group with 293 members spread across some 350 health care facilities in Syria, supported by a World Health Organization (WHO) team based in Turkey, which coordinates humanitarian work done by the United Nations and dozens of NGOs. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)