Toronto, Canada- At approximately 11:55 am Damascus time on February 17, two hospitals were hit by airstrikes in Darat Izza, Aleppo. The Al Kinana Hospital in Darat Izza was hit by airstrikes and sustained significant damage. The Al Fardous Maternity & Children’s Hospital in Darat Izza was also hit by an airstrike and sustained significant damage. Two staff were injured and no fatalities reported. Al Fardous Hospital supported a population of more than 300,000 people. The two hospitals were the last operational hospitals in Western Aleppo. Since April 2019, there have been at least 78 attacks on medical facilities in Syria.
In the last five days, over 250,000 people have been newly displaced by violence and over 900,000 people have been displaced since December, of which, 75% are women and children. The World Food Program, which thousands of people depend on, was not able to complete food deliveries this week because of the escalated violence.
“The situation is catastrophic! In 9 years of war, this is the fastest and worst displacement we have ever seen. Thousands of families are fleeing on foot with just the clothes on their backs. They are sleeping outside in the snow with temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius. Hospitals and medical facilities are over run with patients and are running out of supplies/ medicines. The displaced from Aleppo and Idlib combined with the systematic bombing of hospitals has created a perfect storm.”- Said Dr. Hussam Al Fakir, Chairman of UOSSM International
Dr. Al Fakir added, “A few days ago we received the story of a father who walked a great distance through the snow and freezing conditions to bring his young daughter to a hospital in Afrin. By the time he arrived, she had already frozen to death. Two more deaths of children were reported as a result of the cold in Khan Sheikhun. We also received the story of a family of five who asphyxiated in their tent in the Diaa refugee camp. Children always pay the heaviest price in Syria. These deaths were entirely preventable and unnecessary. I am disgusted with the international community’s apathy, and how the world continues to fail them.”
UOSSM condemns the continued attacks on medical facilities and demands perpetrators are held accountable for war crimes. UOSSM calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities by all military parties, and that the international community intervene now to protect millions of civilians in North Western Syria. UOSSM asks the international community to immediately release emergency funding to support healthcare, food, water and shelter given the exponential increase in internally displaced people.
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