Skip to Main Content
Printer Friendly Home > Issues > Mass Atrocities > Syria

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 190,000 people have been killed according to the UN 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 Bashar al-Assad to end assaults on Syria’s hospitals, doctors, and patients — a clear violation of the universally recognized principle 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. The sick and wounded must be provided the help they need, and medical professionals must be free to do their job without interference.

Landmark United Nations General Assembly Resolution Calls for the Protection of Health Workers from Violence (December 15, 2014)

A resolution passed last week by the United Nations General Assembly recognizes for the first time the severity of attacks on health workers, facilities, and patients in all circumstances, and demands respect by States for provisions of medical ethics and human rights law, as well as international humanitarian law, said the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition.

Physicians for Human Rights Welcomes Lifting of Travel Ban for Bahraini Human Rights Activist (October 1, 2014)

PHR today welcomed the decision by a Bahraini court to lift the travel ban on Maryam al-Khawaja, but remained concerned about the spurious charges that remain against her.

As U.S.-Afghanistan Sign Troop Deal, CIA-Backed Warlord Behind Massacre of 2,000 POWs Sworn-In as VP (Democracy Now, September 30, 2014)

Afghanistan has inaugurated its first new president in a decade, swearing in Ashraf Ghani to head a power-sharing government. Joining him on stage Monday was Abdul Rashid Dostum, Afghanistan’s new vice president. Dostum is one of Afghanistan’s most notorious warlords, once described by Ghani himself as a "known killer." Dostum’s rise to the vice presidency comes despite his involvement in a 2001 massacre that killed up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners of war.

Judge Allows Case Against Turkish Medical Association to Proceed (September 30, 2014)

PHR today criticized an Ankara judge’s decision to proceed with a lawsuit against the Turkish Medical Association (TMA), which did its job by mobilizing medical personnel to provide emergency care to demonstrators injured during the Gezi Park protests.

More Mass Atrocities News »
More Attacks on Doctors in Syria News »
More Persecution of Health Workers News »

Will Bahrain Get Away with It Again? (December 3, 2014)

As the Bahraini authorities continue to violate human rights and target rights defenders, the United States should leverage the re-admission of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski to Bahrain as an opportunity to ask the Bahraini government to fulfill their international human rights obligations.

Critical Condition: a Syrian Female Doctor Makes a Desperate Plea to the U.N. for Help (November 4, 2014)

Before the uprising began more than three years ago, the Syrian healthcare system was suffering, but now it is in critical condition and desperate need of life-saving support.

Recognizing Dr. Denis Mukwege and His Inspirational Fight against Sexual Violence (October 23, 2014)

Our dear friend and medical partner Dr. Denis Mukwege of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was announced the winner of the Sakharov Prize.

Let’s Talk About Sexual Violence (October 2, 2014)

When studying in Jordan last fall, I was stunned by the silence around sexual violence experienced by women in Syrian refugee camps. In Arab communities, where social stigma and family honor carry huge weight, consequences of sexual violence extend far beyond scarring psychological trauma to fear of alienation and even honor killing.

More Mass Atrocities Posts »
More Attacks on Doctors in Syria Posts »
More Persecution of Health Workers Posts »

A Foreseeable Disaster in Burma (November 2014)

In this report, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) outlines the findings of its recent survey of households forcibly displaced by the Thilawa Special Economic Zone development project in Burma.

States Should Not Issue Blanket Quarantine Orders for Medical Workers Returning from Ebola-Stricken Countries (October 2014)

The decision by several states, including Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York, to impose a mandatory quarantine on health workers – mostly volunteers – returning from the three countries in West Africa where there is a significant Ebola outbreak should be reversed.

Syria's Medical Community Under Assault (October 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.

Prepared Remarks - Health Care & Violence: The Need for Effective Protection (September 2014)

PHR attended and presented at the high-level debate, Health Care & Violence: The Need for Effective Protection, at the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2014.

More Mass Atrocities Research »
More Attacks on Doctors in Syria Research »
More Persecution of Health Workers Research »

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 »