For Immediate Release
An overnight airstrike on a Syrian hospital in Aleppo killed dozens of civilians, patients, and doctors, including one of the last pediatricians working in the area. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is appalled by such a brazen attack on health care workers, patients, and facilities, affirming today that any intentional strike on a hospital is a war crime and the systematic nature of the attacks in Syria constitutes crimes against humanity.
“This catastrophic attack not only claimed dozens of lives, but it deprived countless Syrians of critical medical care just as attacks on Aleppo's civilians are intensifying,” said PHR Syria researcher Elise Baker. “Even wars have rules. International humanitarian law is meant to protect doctors, medical workers, and patients, and yet again and again the Syrian government has placed them in the crosshairs throughout this conflict. There’s no reason for a strike like this other than slaughtering and terrorizing the innocent.”
A wave of airstrikes shortly before midnight Wednesday repeatedly hit the al-Quds field hospital, the most advanced pediatric care center in Aleppo. The attack comes as Aleppo and other Syrian cities have endured increasing attacks by Syrian government forces, backed by Russian airpower. A fragile two-month truce has nearly disintegrated, and peace talks in Geneva meant to put an end to the bloodshed have stalled.
“Innocent Syrians are now paying the price for inaction,” said PHR’s Baker. “The cost of political impasse is death and destruction in Syria. If Syria’s leaders and the international community cannot reach a peace accord, there’s no doubt attacks on health care will continue, and the consequences will be deadly for everyday Syrians. How many more doctors and patients have to die before the international community musters the will to end this bloodshed?”
PHR has documented attacks on health care facilities and workers in Syria since the conflict began in 2011. As of this March, PHR has recorded the deaths of 730 medical workers and 359 attacks on 256 separate medical facilities. According to PHR's data, this is the third strike on the al Quds hospital.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.