Medics Under Fire: Latest hospital attack in Idlib, Syria shows lack of urgency in holding to account those who flout UN Resolution 2286

  • UN Resolution 2286 strongly condemns attacks against medical facilities
  • Lack of enforcement increases likelihood hospital casualties will continue

LONDON, 1st June 2016 — Medics Under Fire today strongly condemn airstrikes conducted in Idlib, Syria on Monday severely damaging a hospital and leading to a reported death toll of 23 civilians.  This is the latest attack in a systematic campaign that makes no exception in targeting medical facilities in war zones and demonstrates the urgency in holding those responsible to account.

The Idlib attack comes barely a month after the United Nations passed Resolution 2286 on 3rd May, strongly condemning attacks on hospitals and medical personnel operating in war zones. Yet Monday’s airstrikes, along with a recent spike in violence against medics and patients in Syria, demonstrates the total disregard shown for the resolution by perpetrators.

The civilian death toll of 23 in Idlib – with many more believed to be injured – were caused when the National Hospital was targeted with eight airstrikes. Though reports suggest the hospital avoided a direct hit, the strikes have severely crippled its operations. It is all too apparent that the intention behind these attacks is to create a climate of fear preventing the treatment of those in need and making clear hospitals cannot be seen as place of refuge for the casualties of war – even civilians.

Saleyha Ashen, a director of the newly formed Medics Under Fire, commented:

“Monday’s attacks in Idlib are the latest example of an inhumane campaign that deliberately targets hospitals. Medical facilities have become death traps. Those responsible for what can only be seen as war crimes need to be held to account for their actions before international justice. This is the only way this intentional targeting can be halted.

“Although reports differ, the Russian military or Syrian regime is thought to be responsible for the events in Idlib. Precisely establishing the identity of the perpetrators, and those who commanded the attack, must be the first step towards justice for its victims.

“Yet it must be stressed incidents such as that in Idlib are not confined to Syria. From Yemen to Afghanistan, medical centres are under attack and their intentional targeting must stop. Complicity in any attack needs to be condemned and pursued; no state or army can be allowed to continue such activity with impunity”.

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