For Immediate Release
April 16, 2018
Washington, D.C.- Yesterday, April 15, 2018, SAMS-supported Al-Mara’a Hospital in Idlib was subjected to unlawful attacks carried out by armed factions that lasted more than seven hours. Heavy armed clashes started in the vicinity of the hospital and soon moved inside the building, instilling fear and panic in medical staff and their patients, and causing material damages, including the destruction of the hospital’s blood bank. As soon as the fighting stopped and it was safe to evacuate, SAMS medical staff transferred all their patients to nearby hospitals to ensure that they are able to continue treatment. As a result of these attacks on medical neutrality, SAMS has decided to temporarily suspend its operations at Al-Mara’a Hospital for today, April 16, and tomorrow, April 17. Additionally, SAMS is suspending its non-emergency services in northern Syria for the next five days, starting today until Friday, April 20.
Thirteen medical and humanitarian organizations working on the ground in Syria have joined SAMS in condemning these armed attacks on medical facilities, that have already been subjected to an unprecedented increase in scale and frequency of attacks over the last few months. These blatant attacks on healthcare constitute grave violations of medical neutrality, crippling Syria’s medical infrastructure and preventing patients from accessing care. Despite these ongoing challenges and recent developments on the ground, medical workers continue to risk their lives.
SAMS, along with 13 medical organizations working on the ground in Syria, calls on all actors in the conflict to respect the safety and neutrality of medical personnel and the right of their patients to access care. Disrespecting the neutrality of medical workers and the communities they serve is a disregard of and an attack against our shared humanity.
Medical organizations that signed on:
Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations- UOSSM
Physicians Across Continents- PAC
Syrian Expatriate Medical Association- SEMA
Hand In Hand- HIH
Syria Relief & Development- SDR
Independent Doctors Association- IDA
Sustainable International Medical Relief Organization- SIMRO
Al-Sham Humanitarian Foundation- AHF
AL-AMEEN For Humanitarian Support