Syria Report

149 doctors killed in Syria conflict, 469 health workers imprisoned
A casualty admission every 32 seconds, says Bioedge report

According to a recent Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organisation (UOSMM) report, 149 doctors have been killed in Syria since March 15, 2011. Six of them were foreign doctors, and 3 female doctors. The report said 44% of the total doctor death toll was attributed to shooting and 26% died as a result of shelling, explosion and airstrikes. The report noted 12% of doctors died in detention and by execution in detention.

In an article by, published October 13, 2013, and titled “Hospitals and medical personnel targeted in Syrian conflict” it is reported that “more than 15,000 medics have left the country, claiming they are being deliberately targeted by air strikes or threatened with imprisonment if they carry on treating the wounded. In Aleppo, only 36 of the 5,000 doctors who were working in Aleppo before the conflict, remained in the city; serving not less than 4 million people; which means that there is one doctor for every 70,000 people”.

Additionally, the report points out, the rate of casualties admitted to hospitals is higher than any other area in the world with a new casualty admission every 32 seconds. Dr Tawfik Chamaa, UOSSM spokesperson, said: “We are deeply disturbed by the large number of doctors who have lost their lives in the current crisis in Syria. As we have said on many occasions, hospitals, ambulances, and medical personnel, are entitled to protection from hostile fire under the Geneva Convention.”

Dr Chamaa added: “Targeting hospital and medical personnel will aggravate and worsen the medical crisis. With the soaring number of casualties and increasing medical demands, we urge all sides inside Syria to respect the protection of hospitals and medical personnel, which is granted by the Geneva Convention, and to immediately provide access for all international medical and relief organizations inside Syria.”

Open Letter

Meanwhile, an Open Letter – http://tinyurl. com/m7zfowe – on medical care in the Syrian conflict signed by 55 doctors from around the world, and published 17 September 2013 on the Syria Deeply blog (, says “37% of Syrian hospitals have been destroyed and a further 20% severely damaged. Makeshift clinics have become fully fledged trauma centres struggling to cope with the injured and sick. An estimated 469 health workers are currently imprisoned and around 15,000 doctors have been forced to flee abroad”.

“The targeted attacks on medical facilities and personnel are deliberate and systematic, not an inevitable nor acceptable consequence of armed conflict. Such attacks are an unconscionable betrayal of the principle of medical neutrality.

“The number of people requiring medical assistance is increasing exponentially, as a direct result of conflict and indirectly because of the deterioration of a once-sophisticated public health system and the lack of adequate curative and preventive care. Horrific injuries are going untended, women are giving birth with no medical assistance, men, women and children are undergoing life-saving surgery without anesthetic, and victims of sexual violence have nowhere to turn to.

“The Syrian population is vulnerable to outbreaks of hepatitis, typhoid, cholera and dysentery. The lack of medical pharmaceuticals has already exacerbated an outbreak of cutaneous leishmaniasis, a severe infectious skin disease that can cause serious disability.

There has been an alarming increase in cases of acute diarrhea, and in June aid agencies reported a measles epidemic sweeping through districts of northern Syria. In some areas, children born since the conflict started have had no vaccinations, meaning that conditions for an epidemic – which have no respect for national borders – are ripe.

“As doctors and health professionals we urgently demand that medical colleagues in Syria be allowed and supported to treat patients, save lives and alleviate suffering without the fear of attacks or reprisals.”

 Date of upload: 20th Nov 2013


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