May Marks Deadliest Month for Medical Personnel in Syria; June was Second Highest for Facility Attacks


Latest Data Show Government Forces Responsible for 90 Percent of Attacks on Syria’s Health System

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today released the latest numbers on attacks on health care in Syria, which show that – with 30 deaths – May was the deadliest month for medical professionals. Twelve new attacks on medical facilities were recorded in June, marking the second highest month for attacks on medical facilities.

The violations, which are being tracked on an interactive map, show deliberate attacks on medical personnel and facilities, which violate international humanitarian laws. While all sides of the conflict have committed these crimes, government forces are responsible for an overwhelming 90 percent of the attacks.

“More than three years into the war, attacks on health care in Syria have not slowed down, but have become the norm,” said Erin Gallagher, PHR’s director of emergency investigations and response. “As the war wears on, more and more civilians need medical care, yet fewer medical facilities are functioning and fewer medical personnel are working in Syria. This has compounded an already dire humanitarian situation.”

PHR has documented the deaths of 526 medical personnel, 43 percent of whom were specifically targeted for killing; 99 percent of the 526 killings were committed by government forces. The Damascus governorate has the highest number of medical personnel killed, with 93 deaths. In June, 19 medical personnel were killed.

PHR has documented a total of 175 attacks on 143 medical facilities. Government forces committed 157 of these attacks, or approximately 90 percent of the total, followed by eight attacks by anti-government armed groups, three by ISIS, two by ISIS and anti-government armed groups working together, and five by unknown forces. The Aleppo governorate has experienced the greatest number of attacks, with 45 in total.

Attacks on medical professionals, facilities, and supplies during armed conflict violate the laws of war and constitute a crime against humanity when they are widespread or systematic.

PHR has documented the stories of several Syrian doctors, including Dr. Abo Mayar and Dr. B.

Media Contact: Vesna Jaksic Lowe, MS
Media Relations Manager, New York
vjaksiclowe [at] phrusa [dot] org
Tel: 917-679-0110