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As Putin Bombs Hospitals in Ukraine, I Hear Echoes from Syria

This article was originally published by The New Humanitarian, a news agency specialised in reporting humanitarian crises. Many Syrians are experiencing heart-wrenching flashbacks as we watch the mounting devastation in Ukraine and the millions of refugees fleeing. As a Syrian physician who provided medical care amid the war in my country, it’s especially painful when […]

April 13, 2022
Attacks on Health Care, Mass Atrocities
Press Release

Syria’s New Anti-Torture Law Fails to Address Regime’s Crimes Against Humanity: PHR 

In response to Syria’s passage of anti-torture legislation on March 30, the following statement is attributable to Houssam al-Nahhas, MD, MPH, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Researcher:   “Physicians for Human Rights would welcome any systemic measures that prevent the torture and ill-treatment of people in Syria, provide meaningful pathways […]

April 5, 2022
Torture
Multimedia

The Disappeared Doctors of Syria

The Syrian government has targeted health care workers with detention, abuse, and torture. Here are some of their stories.

February 22, 2022
Attacks on Health Care, Mass Atrocities, Persecution of Health Workers, Torture
Press Release

German Court Conviction of Syrian Who Oversaw Torture a ‘First Step’ Towards Justice and Accountability: PHR

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) welcomes the landmark verdict against Syrian colonel Anwar Raslan, who was convicted today of crimes against humanity in a court in Koblenz, Germany, and sentenced to life in prison.   Raslan supervised the systematic and brutal torture of more than 4,000 Syrian prisoners in 2011-2012. His conviction today marks the first […]

January 13, 2022
Torture

Syria

In January 2011, peaceful protesters in Syria took to the streets, demanding basic human rights and dignity. They were met with a fierce crackdown by the Syrian government. That violence has since spiraled into a brutal civil war, devastating the country. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed in the conflict, and millions have […]

January 1, 2022
Multimedia

The Makings of a Health Crisis in Northern Syria

Destruction of the health sector is a signature of the conflict which continues to unfold in Syria. It has occurred in the context of one of the most severe humanitarian crises in the world. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) and others have documented deliberate attacks on health care facilities and personnel during the past 10 […]

December 15, 2021
Press Release

Syrian Government’s Obstruction of Humanitarian Aid Pushes Health Systems to “Near Collapse” in Northern Syria: PHR Report

Arabic press release here Ahead of the United Nations Security Council’s January 2022 meeting to consider a planned six-month renewal of the July 2021 vote to reauthorize the last remaining border crossing in northern Syria for international humanitarian aid, a new report from PHR provides stark evidence of a massively deteriorated health system caused by […]

December 15, 2021
Attacks on Health Care
Press Release

New Report Details Syrian Government’s Early Targeted Detentions, Forced Disappearances, and Killings of Health Care Workers

Health care workers in Syria were significantly more likely to be detained, die in detention facilities, or be forcibly disappeared if they had provided medical care to injured protesters compared to health care workers arrested for political reasons, a report from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) published today found. The findings underscore a government strategy […]

November 10, 2021
Attacks on Health Care

Case Study

“No Place Is Safe for Health Care”: The Attack on Syria’s al-Atareb Hospital is a Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) and Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) Case Study Overview On March 21, 2021, three artillery strikes hit al-Atareb hospital in the western countryside of Aleppo governorate. The missiles directly hit the hospital’s entrance and destroyed […]

July 15, 2021
Press Release

“Shameful Compromise” at UN Security Council on Syria Cross-Border Aid: PHR

In response to today’s UN Security Council vote on cross-border aid to Syria, the following statement is attributable to Susannah Sirkin, director of policy at Physicians for Human Rights: “The United Nations Security Council has reached a shameful compromise to allow just one international border crossing for lifesaving aid to the besieged people of Syria. […]

July 9, 2021
Attacks on Health Care
Blog

Protecting the Right to Health in Syria

Syria remains one of the world’s most complex humanitarian emergencies. Ten years of violence have resulted in more than 500,000 casualties, triggered one of the worst displacement crises of our time, and led to the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure. Homes, schools, and health facilities have not been spared, and people have been deprived of […]

July 8, 2021
Attacks on Health Care, Persecution of Health Workers
Open Letter

Letter to UN Ambassadors on UNSC Border-crossing Reauthorization Vote

Dear Ambassador,    The United Nations Security Council will meet next week to vote on the authorization for renewal of the UN cross-border operation to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid to northern Syria. It is up to all Security Council Member States to insist on the right of almost six million Syrians – four million in the northwest […]

July 2, 2021
Open Letter

Open Letter to WHO Director-General Concerning the Election of the Government of Syria to the WHO Executive Board

June 3, 2021 Dr. Tedros Adhanom GhebreyesusDirector-GeneralWorld Health OrganizationAvenue Appia 201202 GenevaSwitzerland Dear Dr. Adhanom Ghebreyesus, We write to you today to express our deep concern regarding the recent election of Syria to a three-year term as a member of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Executive Board. We strongly oppose the seating of this government […]

June 3, 2021
Attacks on Health Care, COVID-19
Blog

For Millions of Civilians, Syria’s Bab al-Hawa Humanitarian Crossing is a Crucial Lifeline

An enormous humanitarian crisis may face the four million people in Syria’s northwest region, specifically the Idlib governorate, which currently relies on one lifeline to outside aid: the Bab al-Hawa border crossing from Turkey. In the months leading up to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2019 and early 2020, Idlib faced heavy […]

May 27, 2021
Attacks on Health Care, COVID-19
Blog

Syria’s Medical Workers Are Still Fighting for Justice

Originally published by Al Jazeera, March 19, 2021 Every day when I wake up, I think about August 18, 2012 – the day I finally saw the sun after weeks in captivity. For the “crime” of providing healthcare to injured protesters, the Syrian government imprisoned and tortured me at the Military Intelligence Directorate in Aleppo for […]

March 23, 2021
Attacks on Health Care, Mass Atrocities, Persecution of Health Workers, Torture
Press Release

PHR Statement on Attack on Al-Atareb Surgical Hospital, Northwest Syria

In response to reports of artillery strikes against the Al-Atareb Surgical Hospital in western Aleppo, Northwest Syria, the following statement is attributable to Susannah Sirkin, Physicians for Human Rights director of policy: “We are horrified by reports that the Syrian government has yet again targeted a hospital, this time the Al-Atareb Surgical Hospital in western […]

March 21, 2021
Attacks on Health Care
Webinar

Syrian Health and Human Rights: 10 Years of Conflict

On Thursday, March 11, 2021, Physicians for Human Rights hosted an online briefing call commemorating 10 years of the Syrian conflict, where experts reflected on the state of health and human rights in Syria. PHR Advisory Council member Jennifer Leaning, MD, SMH, senior research fellow at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at […]

March 11, 2021
Attacks on Health Care, COVID-19, Mass Atrocities, Persecution of Health Workers, Torture
Other

Advocacy Brief: Key Actions Governments Must Take Now to Uphold Human Rights After 10 Years of Conflict in Syria

Introduction After 10 years of war and untold suffering in Syria, the landscape for human rights, justice, and accountability looks bleak. In the spring of 2011, peaceful protesters took to the streets across Syria, demanding basic human rights and dignity. They were met with a fierce crackdown by the Syrian government. That violence has since […]

March 11, 2021
Attacks on Health Care, COVID-19, Mass Atrocities, Persecution of Health Workers, Torture
Multimedia

A Decade of Death, Destruction, and Denial

After 10 years of war and untold suffering in Syria, the landscape for human rights, justice, and accountability looks bleak. Explore an interactive timeline of the conflict.

March 11, 2021
Attacks on Health Care, Mass Atrocities, Persecution of Health Workers, Torture
Blog

Celebrating Women in Health and Human Rights

March is Women’s History Month: 31 days to celebrate the contributions of women throughout the ages. Unfortunately, the stories of too many influential women have been lost to time. In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8 and Women’s History Month, PHR is profiling extraordinary women who have made an impact in the movement […]

March 8, 2021
Blog

COVID-19 Amidst Syria’s Conflict: Neglect and Suppression

Nine months into the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Syria’s public health conditions continue to worsen by the day. The Syrian government has been heavily criticized for its inadequate response to the spread of the disease and for suppressing information regarding the COVID-19 infection rate. After President Bashar al-Assad’s nine-year targeted assault on medical workers […]

January 13, 2021
COVID-19, Persecution of Health Workers
Press Release

By Design or Neglect, Syrian Government Has Damaged Health System, Suppressed COVID-19 Data in Daraa: PHR Report

A new report from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) details systemic and willful neglect by the Syrian government of the overall health system in Daraa governorate after it regained control of the opposition-held territory following the June 2018 military offensive led by Syria and Russia. The report corroborates accounts from key sources which detail the […]

December 8, 2020
COVID-19