PRESS RELEASE

10 July 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Latest in string of attacks on hospitals and healthcare facilities in Syria

Istanbul, Turkey

In the latest in a wave of attacks on hospitals in Syria, Jisr al-Shughour hospital was bombed on Wednesday, leaving five dead and 21 injured, among them at least 2 children. The attack has severely damaged the hospital’s ambulance and caused services to be partially suspended, leaving only emergency and referral services in operation.

Jisr al-Shughour hospital, which is supported by the Syrian Expatriates Medical Association (SEMA) through a grant of “humanitarian pool fund” HF, was subject to aerial bombardment on 10 July 2019, which we strongly believe was a targeted attack on the facility. The attack took place in a residential area, 15-20 metres away from the hospital, and in an area in which no military targets or groups are present.

This attack comes in light of a healthcare facility in Saraqeb being targeted earlier today too, as well as 30 reported attacks on 27 health facilities in Idlib since April 2019. Whilst SEMA has taken a firm stance against deconfliction, a UN mechanism in which the UN shares coordinates of humanitarian facilities with parties involved in the Syrian conflict, including the regime and Russia Syrian within the Idlib context, the hospital – being the largest in the area, is well known and present on all maps. Our Turkey Country Director, Dr. Abdulhannan Aljouja, stated, “We feel this is a targeted attack on Jisr Al-Shughour hospital given that it is a very well-known facility, and in the context of numerous healthcare facilities being attacked over the past three months.”

Dr. Aljouja added, “The attack on civilian areas, a civilian population and medical and health facilities, is a barbaric act that violates the most basic international humanitarian law standards.” Further to this, Dr. Ali Al-Bakri , field coordinator for Jisr al-Shughour hospital, has told SEMA, “The situation is unimaginable. No human being should be living under constant bombardment and fear of death, let alone operating in such conditions as doctors and nurses. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed today, and everyday, in the unceasing bombardment of Idlib. We will continue to serve all the civilians living through this daily nightmare, to the best of our abilities.”

At SEMA we call for the international community to take serious action to ensure the protection of civilians in Jisr al-Shughour and greater Idlib, as well as holding its necessary members states accountable for the blatant violation of international humanitarian standards. We call for:

An immediate cessation of hostilities between the conflicting sides;Protection of health workers and an urgent implementation of resolution 2286, which demands that UN member states ensure the protection of health care delivery during conflicts.

Ends

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