SAMS Condemns Direct Attack on Medical Facility and Calls for Greater International Response


Washington, D.C. –  The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) condemned the attack on a field hospital in Atmeh, Syria, supported by the Orient Foundation. A car bomb went off outside of the facility Sunday morning, February 23, 2014. The most recent reports from the hospital list 16 dead, including four medical staff and a number of children, additionally, the explosion left 65 wounded. The bomb caused significant physical damage to the hospital and patients were evacuated to nearby facilities. A statement from the Orient Foundation directly accused President Bashar al-Assad of being behind the attack.

Two other facilities supported by the Orient Foundation have been the subject of attacks. Air-strikes hit Orient’s al-Qonieh Hospital in Jisr al-Shogour, and helicopters attacked Orient’s Hospital in Marat al-Nouman. SAMS, who has reinforced facilities run by the Orient Foundation in the past with volunteers, has also experienced targeting. Earlier this month, a smart missile destroyed a SAMS-supported hospital in Aleppo.

On February 22, 2014, all 15 members of the United Nations Security Council agreed to a resolution (Resolution 2139) to allow full aid access into Syria. The resolution condemns all violence and terrorist-affiliated attacks. This resolution also threatens further steps in the case of non-compliance. SAMS supports this resolution but urges the United Nations to stand behind its stated intent of further action for non-compliance. Since the resolution, violence has continued, and specific UN demands related to the safety of medical aid providers have been blatantly ignored.

“The United Nations very specifically called for the cessation of this kind of violence. The resolution was unanimously approved, even by formerly critical nations. We at SAMS expect the UN Security Council to hold those who violate this agreement accountable, as promised. The loss of medical workers in Syria must stop if there is to be any hope for the country,” said SAMS spokeswoman, Katrina Jørgensen.