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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.

Impunity Reigns as Medical Personnel and Facilities across 23 Conflict-Torn Countries Remain Under Attack (May 21, 2018)

In its fifth annual report released today, the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition warns that attacks on health care in conflict zones around the world are continuing with impunity and may in fact be increasing. The report entitled “Violence on the Front Lines: Attacks on Health Care in 2017” documents more than 700 separate attacks on hospitals, health workers, patients, and ambulances in 23 countries in conflict across the globe.

Humanitarian Norms Ignored as Syria’s Civilian Health Deliberately Targeted (March 15, 2018)

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) released an issue brief today highlighting a pattern of targeted attacks on health care throughout war-torn Syria, taking place with impunity and with staggering consequences.

Physicians for Human Rights Condemns Attacks against Civilians in Eastern Ghouta (February 20, 2018)

In response to the ongoing assault against Syrian civilians and health facilities in eastern Ghouta, Susannah Sirkin, Director for International Policy and Partnerships at Physicians for Human Rights, issued the following statement.

Physicians for Human Rights Documents Dramatic Increase in Attacks on Northern Syrian Medical Facilities (January 23, 2018)

Syrian medical facilities have experienced a dramatic increase in attacks, particularly in opposition-controlled areas of Hama and Idlib, according to new data from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR).

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A Victory for Justice in the Congo (December 19, 2017)

In a stunning victory for justice, a Congolese court has convicted 11 men of crimes against humanity and sentenced them to life in prison for the rapes of dozens of little girls over a three-year period in the village of Kavumu, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In Syria and Yemen, Hospitals Are No Safe Haven (May 3, 2017)

A child in Yemen and a child in Syria. Separated by hundreds of miles, they share the experience of warfare – in Syria, a conflict that has churned along for over six years, in Yemen, a war that’s intensified since 2015. Children in both countries share an uncertain future, with the ever-present specter of illness, trauma, and death.

The People’s Convoy: We Reject The New Normal Of Attacks On Hospitals (December 22, 2016)

The brutality visited on Aleppo in recent weeks has shown the world that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has no scruples about killing his own people and destroying one of the world’s once-great cities. But it’s a brutality that has been clear all along to those of us who’ve watched Assad and his allies engage in a seemingly limitless campaign to annihilate Syria’s health care infrastructure and personnel over the past five years.

Aleppo in Crisis: ‘We Have Witnessed the Defeat of the Human Spirit in Aleppo’ (December 15, 2016)

By allowing Assad to seize Aleppo by any means, the world has permitted a scorched-earth campaign against anyone who threatens the authoritarian rule of the Syrian president or Russia’s stronghold in the Middle East, writes Elise Baker of Physicians for Human Rights.

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Beyond Imagination: Seven Years of Conflict in Syria (March 2018)

The seventh anniversary of the start of the Syrian conflict brings no sign of the fighting abating. In its latest issue brief, Physicians for Human Rights shows how a pattern of targeted attacks on health care in the war-torn country are generating a lethal context.

Issue Brief: Attacks on Health in Syria (January 2018)

At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on January 11, 2018, Senators will examine U.S. policy in Syria. PHR’s issue brief highlights the need for a comprehensive U.S. strategy for Syria that prioritizes civilian protection and welfare as attacks on health and human suffering continue unabated.

PHR Supports Aleppo Doctors’ Plea for Safe Evacuation of Civilians (December 2016)

As Syrian government forces and their allied militias close in on eastern Aleppo city, PHR supports the lifesaving appeal by Syrian relief and medical organizations on the ground inside the besieged city.

PHR Urges Russian Medical Community to Protect Health in Syria (December 2016)

PHR joins medical colleagues around the world in urging the Russian medical community to demand that its government ease the health care crisis in Syria.

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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 »