News - UOSSM International

PRESS RELEASE: Over 5 Million Syrians Without Water For 30 Days

Washington DC-  The bombing of the Ayn al Feeja water facility in Wadi Barada on December 24 has left over 5 million people without fresh, running water for the past 30 days. Concerns are growing over a health epidemic with a sharp rise in severe gastrointestinal cases, according to a doctor from Ibn Nafis Hospital in Damascus. The price for a box of six water bottles has skyrocketed to 1000 Syrian Layras.A fierce bombardment continues to affect the villages of Wadi Barada. According to a representative from the Wadi Barada Media Council, on Friday one medical staff was killed, the executive director of the medical council was wounded, and an ambulance was targeted and destroyed by artillery shelling as it was transporting the wounded through an area supposedly under a ceasefire agreement.  The continued targeting of Wadi Barada with heavy artillery and barrel bombings, has led to more damage to the Ayn al Feeja water facility. An orthopedic surgeon from Damascus said, “We are very concerned that over 5 million people in Damascus have not had access to clean water for a month. The situation could lead to a catastrophe as the risk of hepatitis A, cholera and parasitic diseases rise due to large populations using contaminated water. Water is life and people need to have this basic human necessity to survive. We are concerned that we are not able to access people in besieged areas. We have a medical staff member who walks for 8 ½ miles to communicate the situation in Wadi Barada with us.  This is absolutely unacceptable.” While the people of Aleppo have been evacuated from the besieged area, many people throughout Syria are suffering greatly, with no access to food, water or medical care. A lack of communication and information from these areas has made it extremely difficult to perform needs assessments, assess medical facility capacity, and receive accurate numbers of those injured and killed from daily attacks. The lives of hundreds of thousands in besieged areas are still in danger. In Deir Ezzor thousands of civilians are trapped in the crossfire. The shortage of doctors in the area has left many without any access to medical care.Dr. Khaula Sawah of UOSSM USA said, “Hundreds of thousands of lives are still in danger and we must not forget them, Wadi Barada is the new Aleppo, with a brutal besiegement and a brutal bombardment of the area. Many are being wounded in these attacks and we have no way of getting to them, they are living without the basic necessities of life including water, food and access to medical care, this is a denial of basic human rights and is unacceptable. We call on the international community to ensure water facilities in Wadi Barada are repaired immediately, and humanitarian aid delivered to civilians in Wadi Barada, Deir Ezzor, and in other besieged areas throughout Syria.”Dr. Sawah added, “We hope that the meeting in Astana today is a promising step towards peace, stability and safety of the people of Syria. We urge the international community and the UN to send international observers and blue helmets to Syria, especially in the besieged areas to ensure the safety of civilians and fair and safe access to basic human needs.  -Dr. Khaula Sawah is available for interviews:For media inquiries please contact Communications and Media Manager: Najah Allouch: press@uossm.us

Press Release: Damascus Water Shortage Risks Pandemic

For Immediate Release December 30, 2016 UOSSM is deeply concerned with the water shortage in Damascus which puts 4 million civilians at great risk. The two primary sources of drinking water- Wadi Barada and Ain-el-Fijah which provide water for 70 percent of the population of Damascus, were attacked and heavily damaged. They have not been operational since December 22. The lack of water and price gouging of commercially available water (reports as high as 500 Syrian Pounds per litre) are forcing a large percentage of the population to drink substandard water. There is  a significant risk of a water borne disease pandemic; microbial parasites, typhoid, hepatitis and cholera. The  current medical infrastructure is not equipped to handle a pandemic of this scale.  UOSSM urges the international community to immediately provide water, sanitation and hygiene aid to the people of Damascus. We also strongly condemn using water, a basic human need, as a weapon. Media inquiries and interviews please contact  :  Name: Avi D'SouzaGlobal Director Of Communications Phone: 1 (647) 528-5029Email: press@uossm.org  

Press Release: Aleppo Evacuation Report/ Urgent Child Protection

Thousands of people from Aleppo were evacuated today through the enormous efforts of 14 NGO’s bringing the total to approximately 20,000 evacuated. The majority of the evacuees were children, women and families. Among the children was Bana Al Abed, the seven-year-old girl, who’s twitter account went viral (@alabedbana), providing updates about the horrors of living in besieged Aleppo.  Yesterday, Bana was received and protected by UOSSM’s evacuation and child protection team, and accompanied by the Head of the International Trauma Committee for UOSSM to a safe undisclosed location. Many children have been evacuated but so many more remain vulnerable and in desperate need. In November alone, 183 of the 694 civilians who died were under the age of five according to a UOSSM medical report.  Causes of death were direct airstrikes and a lack of medical capacity. UOSSM Safety and Security Director Dr. Ahmad Al-Dbis, who has been at the evacuation cross point since last Thursday, spoke with other children that gave heartbreaking testimony. Kauthar, a second grader, was another child sitting on a chair alone, with a wound on her chin, a broken hand, and wounded chest. She lost her father to the brutal war along with her grandmother and aunt. UOSSM operated 21 vehicles and 5 advanced ambulances from Qatar Charity as part of a 171 vehicle NGO convoy in the Aleppo evacuation. 18 UOSSM vehicles were equipped for critical medical cases and 8 vehicles for minor medical cases. UOSSM had 195 staff and volunteers (120 staff/ 75 volunteers) assisting the evacuation and receiving the displaced in mobile clinics. The workers/ volunteers were comprised of: paramedics, drivers, logistics, administrative workers, and psychological care workers. UOSSM is deeply concerned by the lack of shelter, food, medical capacity and infrastructure to accommodate the influx of displaced peoples. National NGO’s are doing their best to accommodate but there is an IMMEDIATE need for international NGO’s to build and run this infrastructure. Displaced populations from Aleppo are EXTREMELY vulnerable to air strikes/ attack on IDP camps.  6 months ago the Atmeh camp was hit by airstrikes and 18 civilians were killed and the camp tents burned. We call for IMMEDIATE and exhaustive monitoring and protection of the displaced by the UN and international community.  "When I see Bana I picture my own children. I can't tell you how overjoyed I was to see her safe. The sad reality is there are thousands more children like her that need immediate aid and evacuation. The freezing conditions are a real threat to their survival along with the old and sick. The situation is so volatile that we must have independent UN monitors on the ground ASAP and safe places for evacuees to arrive too." Said Dr. Gahnem Tayara, Chairman of UOSSM International. Media inquiries and interviews please contact  : *Dr. Ghanem Tayara is available for interview Name: Dr. Ghanem Tayara  Chairman of UOSSM International Email:  press@uossm.org    

Joint Press Conference: Aleppo Emergency Medical Response

Where:  Baytna Syria   Gazi Muhtar Paşa Bul. Değirmiçem Mahallesi,14 Nolu Sk. 56 Efes İş Merkezi No:1, Gaziantep, Turkey  https://goo.gl/maps/pqxIAhttp://baytnasyria.org/en/home/https://www.facebook.com/baytnasyria/Venue Information: Omar Al Khani- +90 535 361 1303Assad Al- Achi - +90 534 858 5322 RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/press-conference-aleppo-emergency-medical-response-tickets-30272757633Who: Members of the press and the medical community are invited. When:  4 P.M. on Thursday, December 15, 2016 Where:  Baytna Syria, Gaziantep - Turkey  Interviews: Doctors from inside Syria and medical experts from Syria's largest NGOs: UOSSM -Union des Organisations de Secours et Soins Médicaux SAMS- Syrian American Medical Society SEMA - Syrian Expatriate Medical Association SRD – Syria Relief & Development SHAAM – Shaam Relief Foundation IDA- Independent Doctors Association Syria PAC- Physicians Across Continents Why: All hospitals have been destroyed in Aleppo. Over 100,000 people are fleeing Aleppo this week. Many critically injured/ vulnerable people require immediate medical evacuation. Aid/ NGO workers and their families require immediate protection and evacuation given their systematic targeting and assassination.Contact:Douaa Alhariri, Marketing Coordinator  UOSSM Intl.Phone: +90 506 668 6224Email: promotion@uossm.org Avi D’Souza, Global Director of CommunicationsUOSSM Intl.Phone:  001 (647) 528-5029 – CanadaEmail: press@uossm.orgPLEASE RSVP, SPACE IS LIMITEDRSVP: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/press-conference-aleppo-emergency-medical-response-tickets-30272757633Press Kit & Files:https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B1oIZsVkfBsxdjk5M0ZXYThXdWs?usp=sharingVIDEO CONFERENCE OF MEETING:Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/672476318Or iPhone one-tap (US Toll):  +14086380968,672476318# or +16465588656,672476318#Or Telephone:    Dial: +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll    Meeting ID: 672 476 18    International numbers available: https://zoom.us/zoomconference?m=PeDTLWZ1Y2SnIXDA6872BzaypdVGepOG

BREAKING: Chemical Weapons Attack Kills 93, Injures Over 300

A chemical agent attack was reported today in the eastern suburbs of Hama in the Aqeerbat area. At least 93 civilians have been killed and over 300 wounded. The attacks happened at approximately 6:30 a.m. on December 12 Damascus time amidst heavy airstrikes which lasted over an hour.  Aljarrouh Village: 35 Dead Alsalalieh Village: 43 Dead Hamada Omar Village: 7 Dead Alkastal Village: 2 Dead Alkhouderah Village 6 Dead Many of the victims were children. Victims exposed to the odorless, colorless gas experienced symptoms including: dilated pupils, convulsions, extreme dry cough, bloody secretions, suffocation, nausea and vomiting. The victims that were killed died very quickly, had foaming of the mouth and no signs of physical injury. Casualty numbers are high due to shortages of medical staff with chemical weapons response training. The attacks coincided with a “Humanitarian Ultimatum” issued by President Francois Hollande of France, demanding the safety of 100,000 people fleeing Aleppo and for the safe passage of humanitarian aid to those in desperate need. The statement came after a meeting with Dr. Ziad Alissa -President of UOSSM France, Professor Raphael Pitti- Board Member of the UOSSM France, the President of MSF and the President of MDM. UOSSM is disgusted by the vulgarity of these attacks against children and civilians. We ask the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition Of Chemical Weapons) to fulfill it’s mandate and launch an immediate investigation into this attack and hold perpetrators responsible for war crimes (UNSC-R 2118, UNSC-R 2209).  100,000 civilians in eastern Aleppo are confided to a very small area, under constant and relentless bombardment, with no access to medical or humanitarian aid. Many of those civilians are women and children. Hundreds require immediate medical attention and need to be evacuated. Given the severe targeting of aid /healthcare workers, we plead with the UN and WHO to use every power at their disposal to evacuate aid workers, NGO staff and their families from Aleppo. The genocidal killings in Syria must stop now.  "We cannot stand one more day of horrors. Every day a new sadistic action is taken against the people of Syria as the world looks on dumbly. Try and imagine the pain and suffering the people go through for every moment without peace."  Said Dr. Anas Al Kassem, Chairman of UOSSM Canada /Ontario Surgeon   . Media inquiries and interviews please contact  : Name: Dr. Houssam AlnahhasUOSSM Local Coordinator for CBRN- Task Force, TurkeyEmail: h.alnahhas@ogr.iu.edu.tr

BREAKING: Chemical Weapons Attack In Kallaseh, Aleppo

Chlorine gas attacks reported in the Kallaseh neighbourhood of besieged Aleppo and a medical point on December 9, 2016. Victims at the medical facility reported symptoms consistent with the choking agent, chlorine gas. The number of injuries and casualties is currently unconfirmed. UOSSM representatives issued a statement: “Targeting civilians and medical facilities with chemical weapons is a war crime.  We echo the sentiments of the UN General Assembly, where 122 countries demanded the immediate and complete end to all attacks on civilians , civilian objects, to all sieges throughout the country and to allow unconditional humanitarian access to those in need. We ask the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition Of Chemical Weapons) to fulfill it’s mandate and launch an immediate investigation into this attack and hold perpetrators responsible for these grievous violations to international law (UNSC-R 2118, UNSC-R 2209). ”Dr. Anas Al Kassem, Chairman of UOSSM Canada said “A whole city is being butchered before our eyes. The time is now to look past politics and focus on saving those on the brink of survival. We call on the UN and all responsible parties to act immediately. To let medical and humanitarian aid in and wounded victims that are in dire need of medical care out. ” Video Of Patients:  https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B1oIZsVkfBsxeVNHbFJlMmIwVUk?usp=sharing *Dr. Anas Al Kassem, Chairman of UOSSM Canada and Ontario Surgeon is available for interview. Media inquiries and interviews please contact  : Name: Avi D'Souza Global Director Of Communications Phone:1 (647) 528-5029 Email: press@uossm.org

Rally: 714 Candles For 714 Heroes - Geneva

Please join us at a rally on Friday December 16 at 6 pm, in solidarity and tribute to the heroic medical workers of Syria. 714 doctors, nurses and volunteers have lost their lives by choosing to save the lives of others in Syria.  We honour their sacrifices.  In times where humanity goes through periods of darkness, where families are displaced, where whole cities are crushed to dust and medical facilities bombed, a few men and women remind us of our humanity. December 16, at 6:00 pm, 714 candles will be lit and displayed in the Saint-Germain Church, in "Rue Des Granges" (Old-Town), in Geneva. Poems, including many texts by Mahmoud Darwich will be read in Arabic by the Doctor Tawfik Chamaa, and in French by Philippe Macasdar, Director of the Saint-Gervais Theater. They will come with Syrian Oud music.  This rally organized by UOSSM-Suisse has the support of the Eglise Catholique Chrétienne, Paroisse De Saint-Germain as well as the Plateforme Interreligieuse of Geneva.Please Contact: Shadi Alshhadeh                                                Executive Officer, UOSSM Suisse                    Email: shadi.shhadeh@uossm-suisse.org        Phone: 078 659 48 48 Dr. Tawfik Chamaa                                                     Chairman, UOSSM Suisse                                Email: Tawfik.chamaa@uossm.org Phone: 079 707 7090 

Immediate Release : Bold New UN Proposal For Peace In Syria

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE It is with great optimism that UOSSM welcomes the prospect of the “Uniting for Peace” resolution on Syria led by 74 UN member states and 223 NGO’s/ civil society organizations initiated yesterday.   The General Assembly resolution 377A(V) of 1950: "‘Uniting for Peace’, otherwise known as the Dean Acheson resolution, “Resolves that if the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, the General Assembly shall consider the matter immediately with a view to making appropriate recommendations to Members for collective measures.” It has been 5 years of failed attempts/ political deadlock by the UN Security Council to stop the humanitarian catastrophe; the bombing of hospitals and schools, the use of chemical weapons against civilians *, the maiming and murder of children, starvation, torture, the killing of nearly 500,000 citizens and forced displacement of 11,000,000 people.     This will be the first attempt to move outside the UN security council framework and have the world at large work towards peace and security in Syria. We applaud Canada’s diplomatic leadership in seeking UN General Assembly action and we urge all UN Member States to join the 74 countries who are supporting this initiative. We ask UN member states to request an Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly to stop the siege and bombing of civilians in Aleppo, to immediately airdrop humanitarian aid to Eastern Aleppo and create independent humanitarian corridors for the safe evacuation of the wounded/ civilians. Joint Statement Of Civil Society Organizations: http://reliefweb.int/report/syrian-arab-republic/uniting-peace-syria-global-civil-society-appeal-un-member-states Uniting For Peace Resolution:  http://www.un.org/en/sc/repertoire/otherdocs/GAres377A(v).pdf Letter from the Canadian Government (October 13, 2016): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1oIZsVkfBsxTmlwRmk0b3RiT00/view?usp=sharing *Chemicals Weapons Report: http://www.cbrneportal.com/the-use-of-chemical-weapons-in-syria-national-and-international-responses/ For interviews and details please contact: Name: Avi D'Souza Global Director Of Communications Phone:001 (647) 528-5029 Email: press@uossm.org

Five Major Hospitals Attacked in Syria in Past 48 hours

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Five hospitals and one mobile clinic were attacked in Syria in the past 48 hours. Initial reports indicate three people have been killed and 29 more injured.  The medical facilities attacked in the past two days provide on average per month: 23,000 consultations, 2000 admissions, 1800 surgeries and 650 deliveries.  The eight attacks of the past four days have put 2016 on track to becoming the worst year of hospital attacks on record.   14 November 2016: A hospital in western Aleppo was hit by an airstrike at 12 p.m. Damascus time injuring three nurses with no reported casualties. The facility was heavily damaged and is temporarily out of service. A second hospital in western Aleppo was hit by an airstrike at 2 p.m. Damascus time injuring one doctor and eight nurses. The facility was previously attacked on November 11 and was completely destroyed on November 14, rendering it out of service. A third hospital in western Aleppo was hit by an airstrike at 11 p.m. Damascus time killing two staff and injuring one doctor and three nurses. The facility was heavily damaged, rendering it temporarily out of service. A mobile clinic in Jisr-Ash-Shugur, Idlib, was hit by an airstrike. The initial report shows no casualties. The structure was moderately damaged and the facility went temporarily out of service.   13 November 2016: A hospital in suburban Idlib was hit by an airstrike at 3 p.m., wounding five people, two staff and destroying three ambulances. The facility was heavily damaged and is partially out of service. A hospital in suburban Idlib was attacked by an airstrike at 3pm which hit just a few meters from the hospital. One person was killed and six more wounded including two staff. The facility is temporarily out of service.   11 November 2016 A hospital in Kafr Zita in rural Hama, was hit by at least two barrel bombs, resulting in severe damage to the facility. Initial reports show no casualties. The hospital provides an average of 1,940 consultations, 339 admissions, 126 major surgeries and 25 deliveries. The facility was rendered completely out of service.  Another hospital in Atareb, rural Aleppo, was targeted today by airstrikes, resulting in damage to the facility. No casualties were reported. On a monthly basis the hospital was providing an average of 3,350 consultations, 480 admissions and 285 major surgeries.  *Hospital names are concealed for the protection of the staff and facility. For the safety of our patients and survival of our staff, UOSSM will continue to advocate in the strongest terms: The protection of medical facilities and holding perpetrators responsible for war crimes.  The continued heroism and resourcefulness of medical staff on the ground is inspiring. We will continue to stand with them and anyone in need of medical aid despite race, religion or political affiliation. Since March 2011, UOSSM has documented 485 separate attacks against medical facilities in Syria claiming the lives of 765 medical personnel. This includes 225 doctors, 134 medics and 158 nurses.  In 2016, 123 facilities were attacked and 63 medical personnel killed, not to mention the scores more who have been maimed and wounded. From March 2011 to November 15 2016, 117 medical facilities were attacked in Aleppo and 96 in Idleb. *Given the extreme challenges of collecting data in the field, the data does not include attacks which UOSSM was unable to verify. There have been significantly more attacks on medical facilities which have gone unreported.  For interviews and details please contact: Name: Avi D'Souza Global Director Of Communications Phone:001 (647) 528-5029 Email: press@uossm.org

2 Hospitals Attacked and Phosphorous Bombs Used In Syria

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE On November 11, 2016 A hospital in Kafr Zita in rural Hama, was hit by at least two barrel bombs, resulting in severe damage to the facility. Initial reports show no casualties. The hospital provides an average of 1,940 consultations, 339 admissions, 126 major surgeries and 25 deliveries. The facility was rendered completely out of service.  Another hospital in Atareb, rural Aleppo, was targeted today by airstrikes, resulting in damage to the facility. No casualties reported. On a monthly basis the hospital was providing an average of 3,350 consultations, 480 admissions and 285 major surgeries.                         A phosphorus attack was reported in Daret Ezzah in the Aleppo directorate. No casualties have been reported but medical staff have raised concerns about the use of prohibited weapons such as phosphorous and their indiscriminate and horrifying impact on civilians. UOSSM condemns today’s attacks against medical staff and civilians. The blatant disregard for international humanitarian law must stop.  We call on the international community to hold those responsible accountable for war crimes and use all pressures at their disposal to come to a peaceful resolution in Syria. *Hospital names not released to protect facilities and staff. Media Contact: Name: Avi D'Souza Global Director Of Communications Phone:(647) 528-5029 Email: press@uossm.org