When hospitals or health clinics are destroyed, the loss is far greater than the bricks and mortar of the buildings. Safe and protected spaces to seek routine and urgent medical attention are also lost. When medical workers are killed, the human toll is not just their lives, but also the exponential number of people who will suffer without treatment and the many lives that will be lost as a result. When these attacks on health care become as prolonged and widespread as they have in Syria, the consequences reach far beyond the individuals and facilities lost – the attacks reverberate across the civilian community, inciting fear that seeking medical treatment or going to a hospital will result in death, injury, kidnapping, torture, or imprisonment, both for the patient and the medical provider.
Words alone cannot convey the immensity of the health care crisis in Syria. The work conducted by Physicians for Human Rights to visualize destroyed health infrastructure since the beginning of the Syrian conflict is intended to convey the magnitude and widespread nature of attacks on medical care in the country and promote accountability for violations of international humanitarian law.
Check out our map of attacks on medical personnel and facilities in Syria. You can also find our methodology here and our latest findings here.