Worst week of hospital attacks in Syria since conflict started, US observer says | News | DW | 03.08.2016
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Worst week of hospital attacks in Syria since conflict started, US observer says

The US-based Physicians for Human Rights has said that six hospitals have been struck this week alone. It's only the latest alleged war crime to be reported this week as the country's five-year conflict rages on.

In a press release published on its website on Wednesday, the group said that six hospitals had been struck by government forces during the last week of July.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) said the six hospitals were all located in the Aleppo governate and that patients had been killed in the bombings.

"Since June, we've seen increasing reports of attacks on civilians in Aleppo and strikes on the region's remaining medical infrastructure. Each of these assaults constitutes a war crime," said Widney Brown, the director of programs for PHR, according to the release. "Destroying hospitals is tantamount to signing thousands of death warrants for people now stranded in eastern Aleppo. The bombings, the lack of humanitarian aid, and the failure of the United Nations to deliver any kind of assistance means the death toll may soon be catastrophic."

Medical facilities a frequent target

PHR has reported 373 attacks on 265 medical facilities since the beginning of Syria's war, which began in 2011. Five of the hospitals hit this week had been bombed in the past, the organization said.

The report comes as a battle rages for control over the besieged city of Aleppo, where some 300,000 people remain trapped without access to basic food and necessities. Last week, the government of Bashar al-Assad, along with ally Russia, announced the opening of civilian corridors in the city to allow people to leave the blockaded areas, but many haven't taken advantage of them out of fear of reprisals.

The group's announcement also follows a report by Syria-based rescuers that a helicopter dropped what might have been chlorine gas on a town in Idlib province. Both Assad and rebels have been frequently accused of using chemicals weapons, a war crime according to the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Geneva protocol of 1925.

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