FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2019
BREAKING: Humanitarian Catastrophe In Maarat Al Nouman, Syria; At Least 38 Dead, Hundreds Injured
Dallas, Texas- A week of relentless airstrikes, barrel bomb attacks and artillery strikes have devastated Maarat Al Nouman and the South Eastern Idlib countryside in Syria. At least 38 civilians were killed this week including eight women and seven children. Hundreds more have been wounded and the casualty count is expected to rise significantly. In the past week, at least 60,000 civilians were internally displaced and face harsh conditions during the start of winter. Medical facilities, already crippled by a year of attacks, are struggling to deal with the influx of wounded victims. At least 68 medical facilities have been attacked since April 2019.
Of the child casualties, Tasneem (9 years old), Raneem (6 years old) and Haneen (4 years old) were tragically killed along with their mother Zakyah by an airstrike on the Bdama village in Jisr Al- Shoghour in Western Idlib on December 17. Their father Anwar Hamidi, a Syrian Civil Defense (White Helmets) volunteer, was beyond himself in grief.
On December 18 at 10:30 a.m. Damascus time, an explosion almost 1000 feet away caused damage to a medical point of a referral system in Maarat Al Nouman. No injuries or casualties were reported.
On December 18 at 11 a.m. Damascus time, an artillery shelling hit around 600 feet away from an emergency medical center in Maarat Al Nouman. The facility sustained minor damage, no injuries or casualties were reported.
On December 17 at 9:44 a.m. Damascus time, a barrel bomb hit Myassar Alhamdo Hospital in Ghadfah, Idlib. No casualties were reported as the facility was evacuated.
In the strongest terms, UOSSM calls for all military parties to stop targeting civilian areas and respect their rights under international law.
Dr. Khaula Sawah, Vice President of UOSSM USA said, “The videos and images we have had to bear witness to this past week have been devastating. There are no words to describe the suffering and anguish innocent civilians have been experiencing. It is especially difficult to see the children in such pain; my heart aches for them. These crimes of war must stop immediately, the world must act and stop turning a blind eye to such atrocities against humanity. Human life is worth more than this. ”
*Numbers are constantly changing due to situation on the ground.
Since 2012, UOSSM has been providing emergency medical relief and healthcare services to the Syrian people affected by the crisis, working primarily inside Syria and with Syrian refugees in Turkey.
- In 2018, UOSSM supported 14 primary health care centers and 13 mobile clinics
- UOSSM Bab Al Hawa Hospital provided health care services to almost 1 million patients since establishment
- In 2018, over 162,000 beneficiaries were provided with nutrition services focused on pregnant and nursing women, and children under the age of 5
- UOSSM Mental Health and Psychosocial Support services provided care to 110,096 beneficiaries in 2018