Health Care under Attack in Syrian Conflict


War, by its very nature, is expected to cause injuries and deaths. But in Syria, human rights groups and others with first-hand knowledge about the conflict there say the extent of mass killings, torture, and other atrocities associated with the 2-year civil war has reached horrific levels. Among the 23 million residents of Syria, nearly 93 000 had been killed as of June and nearly 5 million have fled their homes, some to nearby countries (

Both progovernment and antigovernment forces have been violent and reckless with human life. But news articles and research reports, including one by the United Nations, indicate that the scale of violations committed by government forces and affiliated militia significantly exceeds that of rebel fighters (

The health of Syria’s people is in jeopardy from shootings and bombings, and civilians also face danger in the very places they go to seek medical care. Violations of medical neutrality and international law have been perpetrated through government-led attacks on health care workers and wounded patients.

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