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New Report: Syrian Forces Launched Assault on Country’s Medical System

Report includes new evidence of government forces denying wounded civilians medical treatment

For Immediate Release

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today released a report detailing theSyrian government’s all-out assault on the country’s medical system. PHR’sreport includes new and alarming evidence that government forces deny woundedcivilians impartial medical treatment; invade, attack, and misuse hospitals;attack and impede medical transport, and detain and torture doctors fortreating wounded civilians. These documented attacks illustrate the broaderviolence that the Syrian people have endured over the past several months. 

“Wounded protesters who are seeking much needed medical attention oftenface fatal repercussions,” said Richard Sollom, Deputy Director at PHR. “Hospitalsare supposed to be a place of healing, but instead patients are being draggedaway by security forces for interrogation and torture. As a result, the medicalpersonnel who treat these individuals risk not only their career, but alsotheir lives.”

PHR interviewed more than a dozen Syrian doctors, nurses, and hospitalvolunteers. An estimated 250 doctors have been arrested or interrogated fortreating injured protesters in Syria. Some Syrian doctors have established anunderground network of makeshift clinics to which they smuggle medical suppliesto care for the injured. 

The Assad regime’s direct assault on Syria’s hospitals, doctors, andpatients, is in clear violation of the principle of medical neutrality. PHRcalls on the Syrian government to respect the principle of medical neutralityand commit to providing emergency medical treatment to all citizens withoutdiscrimination. PHR also calls on:

  • The Syrian government to bring to justice allperpetrators of the grave human rights violations documented in this report.
  • The Arab League to continue its commitment toplacing international and Arab monitors in Syria to observe the country’songoing unrest.
  • The U.N. Security Council to refer the situationin Syria to the International Criminal Court.

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.

Media Contact

Kevin Short

Deputy Director, Media & Communications1.917.679.0110

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