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Attacks in Syria

Syrian Man Shot Smuggling Medicine
A Syrian man shot while smuggling medicine over the Lebanese border is carried into a field hospital in Qusayr, Syria.(AFP/GettyImages)

Since mid-March, 2011, Syrian government forces have sought to crush citizen uprisings. More than 10,000 people have been killed and at thousands of others are reported to be in custody or missing.

In addition to the widely reported atrocities committed by the government, PHR has discovered reports of grievous attacks on medical facilities, health workers, and patients and documented these alarming assaults on the medical profession.

PHR calls on Dr. Assad to end assaults on Syria’s hospitals, doctors, and patients—a clear violation of the universally recognized principles of medical neutrality. Medical neutrality requires noninterference with medical services in times of armed conflict and nondiscriminatory treatment of the sick and wounded.

Both sides of the conflict must immediately abide by all relevant international laws; they must cease all attacks on civilians, and take immediate steps to abide by the terms of the ceasefire agreement. The sick and wounded must be provided the help they need, and medical professionals must be free to do their job without interferences.

May Marks Deadliest Month for Medical Personnel in Syria; June was Second Highest for Facility Attacks (July 23, 2014)

PHR today released the latest numbers on attacks on health care in Syria, which show that – with 30 deaths – May was the deadliest month for medical professionals.

PHR Calls for Protection of Medical Facilities and Personnel in Gaza (July 22, 2014)

PHR calls on the government of Israel to stop attacking health facilities, ambulances, and health personnel in Gaza. PHR also said that Hamas and other armed groups must fully respect and protect the neutral operation of medical personnel and patients’ safety by ensuring that no military equipment or units operate in or near medical facilities.

PHR Comments on UN Security Council Vote (May 22, 2014)

PHR today criticized Russia and China’s refusal to refer the Syria crisis to the International Criminal Court.

New Map Shows Government Forces Deliberately Attacking Syria’s Medical System (May 14, 2014)

Syrian forces have systematically attacked the health care system in opposition-held areas over the past three years, resulting in the death of more than 460 health professionals and widespread destruction to hospitals and clinics, PHR said today as it launched an interactive map tracking these violations.

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Attacking Health Care: A Common Denominator in Conflict (June 3, 2014)

Last week, Human Rights Watch reported that the Iraqi government repeatedly targeted and attacked Fallujah General Hospital in Anbar province. Fallujah is a pivotal city in Sunni-majority Anbar province, which has long accused the Shia-dominated central government of persecution.

The War on Health Care in Syria (May 19, 2014)

Dr. H has treated bombing casualties, chemical weapons survivors, and victims with bullet wounds – all standard cases in his field hospital in one of the opposition-controlled areas of Syria.

Burma’s Policy of Religious Persecution Continues Unabated (May 1, 2014)

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has released its 2014 Annual Report, which highlights state-sponsored violations of religious freedom around the world. To note most severe cases, the report designates eight nations as Countries of Particular Concern, and – for the fifteenth year in a row – Burma is part of this notorious group.

When Reality Intrudes on Resilience (April 30, 2014)

Despite continued death and destruction, the Syrian people have shown incredible resilience. In conflicts as tragic as the one in Syria, hope for a better future is essential to survival.

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Syria's Medical Community Under Assault (July 2014)

This fact sheet illustrates the deliberate targeting and destruction of medical facilities by government and opposition forces, loss of medical personnel, and resulting health consequences in Syria.

NGOs Welcome Unprecedented Step Towards Increased Aid in Syria (July 2014)

Physicians for Human Rights and partner NGOs welcome the United Nations Security Council resolution, which directly authorizes UN agencies and their implementing partners to deliver aid across Syria’s borders and conflict lines.

Student Toolkit (May 2014)

This student toolkit provides comprehensive information on the principle of medical neutrality – which ensures safe access to medical facilities, protects health care workers and their patients, and allows medical workers to provide unbiased care.

Letter from Medical and Public Health Experts to President Thein Sein Regarding Suspension of MSF in Rakhine State (April 2014)

In this letter, 30 medical and public health experts express concern over the government of Burma's refusal to allow Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to conduct humanitarian operations in Rakhine State.

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Featured Report

Syria: Attacks on Doctors, Patients, and Hospitals

The Syrian government has responded to popular protests with months of sustained and extreme violence and intimidation, and an all-out assault on the country’s medical system. PHR has documented attacks on Syria’s medical profession – violations that are but one aspect of the myriad abuses the Syrian people have endured over the past several months. Read More »