A UOSSM staff member, Abdul Rahman Ismail, was killed today in Ghouta. Abdul Rahman was only 28 years old. Abdul Rahman said in his last voice mail to UOSSM staff minutes before he was killed, “I am right in an area with a safe shelter and there is a hospital, but truthfully speaking it is absolutely terrible, airstrikes and barrels dropping like crazy, we don’t even have time to count them, or whether we should count them or to just run away." He is survived by his wife and two children.
It was another brutal day in Ghouta as over 200 have been killed and over 700 wounded in the past two days. All of the victims were civilians, and most were women and children.
Eight medical facilities were attacked today in eastern Ghouta, for a total of 13 hospital attacks in 48 hours. Reports state there have been over 127 airstrikes, illegal barrels, and countless mortars and artillery strikes today. This has paralyzed the already crippled medical infrastructure in Ghouta. At least 200 civilians have been killed and over 700 wounded in the past two days. Many of the victims are women and children.
It was a terrifying day in eastern Ghouta as a fierce campaign swept the area killing at least 88 and wounding at least 500, as all area hospitals were put out of service due to the violence. Five area hospitals were attacked and put out of service in an already vulnerable area that has experienced a major shortage of medical supplies, and medications due to the brutal siege.
The death toll is expected to rise as many may still be buried under the rubble. Dr. Asem from one of the area hospitals said, “The situation is catastrophic, people have nowhere to turn. They are trying to survive but their hunger from the siege has weakened them significantly.”
Most of those suffering from the siege and attacks are women and children.
As the violence continues throughout Syria, Ghouta has been especially hard hit. In the past four days 237 were killed and 1250 were wounded in Ghouta alone. Several medical facilities in the area were also attacked leaving people in a vulnerable state, as they are under a fierce bombardment. Many of the wounded are afraid to go to area hospitals out of fear from these attacks, risking even more lives.
It was a suffocating weekend in Idlib, Syria. Babies a few hours old gasped for breath after their incubators lost power in a hospital attack. Children had difficulty breathing after a reported chlorine gas attack. Elsewhere in Syria, children in Ghouta were fighting for their lives while they wait for medical evacuation enduring another fierce and terrifying bombardment.
Several medical facilities were attacked and put out of service since Sunday. The Maarat Al Nouman hospital was attacked four times, causing newborn babies to temporarily suffocate as their incubators lost power. Luckily, the babies' lives were saved as they were evacuated to nearby hospitals. Another healthcare center, Tal Mardeekh Healthcare Center, was also attacked Sunday night and put out of service. The attacks left thousands with no access to medical care, as Idlib experienced fierce bombardment, including a reported chlorine gas attack.
There was a reported chemical attack in Saraqeb, Idlib at 10 p.m. Damascus time, Sunday. 17 people were injured including three members of the Syrian Civil Defense (White Helmets). Victims at the medical facility reported symptoms consistent with the choking agent chlorine gas, including suffocation and the smell of chlorine on their clothes. No fatalities were reported.
On Monday morning, another hospital was attacked in Kafr Nabol, the Kafr Nabol Surgical Hospital, also putting it out of service. The string of violent attacks on medical facilities is a war crime, leaving thousands vulnerable to injuries with little or no access to medical care.
On February 1, 12:15 p.m. Damascus time, the Al Maghara (Dr. Hassan Al Araj) Cave Hospital in Kafr Zita, Hama was hit by five missiles from an airstrike. The hospital, built under 60 feet of rock, suffered extensive damage throughout the building; the pharmacy was destroyed and there was extensive damage in the emergency department, which UOSSM supports, and ambulances. There were minor injuries and no casualties reported. This was the fourth attack on the hospital in 2018.
The hospital is considered the "safest" hospital in the region because it is built under 60 feet of rock, protecting it from most attacks. But experts say the attack was with advanced weaponry as the missile was able to cause that much damage to the hospital.
The hospital serves a population of 50,000.Read more
At least 11 medical facilities were attacked during the holiday season leaving thousands without access to medical care. Medical facilities were targeted in Hama, Idlib, and Eastern Ghouta. Three paramedics and one nurse were killed, and 10's were wounded in the attacks. The only pediatric doctor in Al Salam Maternity Hospital was wounded in an attack as well.
The medical evacuation of 29 critically ill patients was completed last night. Unfortunately, many of the children that still desperately need to be evacuated were on the list, including Rama, Karim and Qasem.
The medical evacuations lasted over a three day period. There were a total of 18 children, six women and five men that were evacuated. There are still over 650 medical cases in Ghouta, many of which are children and women, that desperately need to be evacuated to treat their chronic illnesses and wounds.
The area of Ghouta remains under siege with over 370,000 civilians, that have very little access to food, medicines and medical care.
UOSSM has been working tirelessly, advocating with all parties for the medical evacuations.Read more
The situation in eastern Ghouta has been declining rapidly, as airstrikes intensify, and the supplies needed to treat the ill and wounded are running low due to the siege.
Hundreds have been wounded in the past few weeks and many have been killed by intensifying airstrikes. There are also reports of victims experiencing symptoms of exposure to chemical agents.
Many children are experiencing, or or on the brink of malnutrition, as two more babies died in the past week due to malnutrition and lack of medications.
Doctors warn if something is not done soon to let humanitarian aid inside Ghouta, there could be a human catastrophe, as there are over 300,000 people still trying to survive in Ghouta.
"To Kill a Healthcare Worker is to Kill Humanity"
Dr. Monzer Yazji, President of UOSSM USA, along with board doctors from all member organizations of UOSSM created a petition to call for an immediate stop to the attacks on doctors, medical staff and medical facilities. Over 150,000 people have signed the petition so far. This is all part of the "Doctors in Danger" Campaign launched by UOSSM.
Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria in 2011, at least 732 doctors and medical staff were killed. According to the UOSSM Syrian Hospitals Report, all 107 hospitals in Aleppo, Idlib, Latakia, Hama, Daraa, Quneitra and Homs were attacked at least once by a direct or indirect air strike in 2016. Some were targeted up to 25 times with an average of three attacks per hospital.
Since September there was a surge in violence as 18 medical facilities were attacked, most of which were at least partially put out of service, leaving thousands of vulnerable civilians with no access to medical care.
Please click here to sign the petition, and please share with friends and family.
For months the situation was improving in Syria, as news of attacks and bloodshed was dramatically reduced. But for the past week the brutal violence has returned as hospitals, civil centers and civilian buildings were attacked, causing the death of at least two paramedics, with many others wounded. White Helmets workers were also injured as they were attempting to rescue wounded civilians.