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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 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.

In Conflict Zones Worldwide, Medical Facilities and Personnel in 19 Countries Are Under Relentless Attack (May 23, 2016)

In conflict zones around the world, health care workers and facilities are under relentless attack, according to a new report “No Protection, No Respect” from the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition.

UN Security Council Calls for End to Attacks on Doctors, Hospitals (May 3, 2016)

The United Nations Security Council today unanimously adopted a resolution calling for an end to attacks on health care workers and facilities.PHR, which advocates for the protection of medical facilities and health workers worldwide, welcomes today’s vote, reaffirming that deliberately attacking hospitals and doctors is a war crime.

Physicians for Human Rights Responds to Kunduz Hospital Airstrike Report (April 29, 2016)

The Defense Department today released the redacted report of its internal investigation into the U.S. military airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Since the attack last October, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has been pressing the White House and the Pentagon to consider a criminal inquiry in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Airstrike on Syrian Hospital Kills Dozens, Including Patients and Doctors (April 28, 2016)

An overnight airstrike on a Syrian hospital in Aleppo killed dozens of civilians, patients, and doctors, including one of the last pediatricians working in the area. PHR is appalled by such a brazen attack on health care workers, patients, and facilities.

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Assad, Beware the Long Arm of Justice (April 13, 2016)

As a shaky ceasefire in Syria appears on the verge of collapse, peace talks are set to resume in Geneva this week. It’s a harrowing time for Syrians, made all the worse by the Syrian government continuing to willfully cut off deliveries of food and medicine to civilians.

We Must Hold Assad to Account for Murdering Doctors and Journalists (March 23, 2016)

On December 23, a paramedic with the civil defense, or White Helmets, was killed by Syrian government shelling while aiding the wounded in al Nashabiya, a small town in besieged Eastern Ghouta, in the Damascus suburbs. Three others were killed and 13 injured during that assault.

Failed Peace Talks Are a Death Sentence for Syrians (January 28, 2016)

Political wrangling in the lead up to Friday's U.N.-brokered peace talks has dramatically lowered expectations. But continued inaction at the diplomatic level, writes Elise Baker of PHR, is a "death sentence" for many Syrians trapped in besieged or remote areas across the country

Protecting Syria's civilians: another discarded New Year's resolution? (January 11, 2016)

It's been just three weeks since the UN Security Council adopted its latest resolution on the conflict in Syria, re-authorizing cross-border delivery routes for humanitarian aid and promising - once again - to take "further measures" if the parties to the conflict do not comply with international humanitarian law.

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Letter to President Obama on the Kunduz Hospital Attack (April 2016)

PHR sent a letter to President Obama expressing grave concern about the increased frequency of attacks on hospitals and medical personnel across the globe, including the devastating October airstrikes by the U.S. military on an MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

Update on Syria – April 2016 (April 2016)

Syria’s cessation of hostilities, which came into effect on February 27, was supposed to reduce violence and guarantee delivery of humanitarian aid to desperate populations in need across Syria. The reduction of violence witnessed in the first weeks of the cessation has started to reverse course, and the cessation has largely failed on its promises to deliver life-saving humanitarian aid to the millions of Syrians in besieged and hard-to-reach areas.

Prepared Remarks - Five Years of War in Syria: Health Care Under Attack (March 2016)

Director of Programs Widney Brown of Physicians for Human Rights delivered remarks at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Briefing - Five Years of War in Syria: Health Care Under Attack.

No Peace Without Justice in Syria (March 2016)

On the fifth anniversary of the crisis in Syria, Physicians for Human Rights calls attention to the ongoing attacks on medical personnel and facilities and demands that justice not be sacrificed in the pursuit of peace.

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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 »