Washington DC- A few hours ago, at 12:15 p.m. Damascus time, the Al Maghara (Dr. Hassan Al Araj) Cave Hospital in Kafr Zita, Hama was hit by five missiles from an airstrike. The hospital, built under 60 feet of rock, suffered extensive damage throughout the building; the pharmacy was destroyed and there was extensive damage in the emergency department, which UOSSM supports, and ambulances. There were minor injuries and no casualties reported. The facility was put out of service. The hospital serves a population of 50,000 people, has 7,000 beneficiaries a month and performs roughly 150 major surgeries a month.
This was the fourth attack on the hospital in 2018; previous attacks were on January 30, January 5, January 2. The hospital was built under 60 ft. of rock to protect it from airstrikes and is considered one of the most structurally fortified hospitals in all of Syria. Damaging the structure to this extent is only possible through advanced weapons/ bunker buster missiles.
In addition, there was a reported chlorine gas attack in Douma in Ghouta at 5:30 a.m. Damascus time, injuring eleven including women and children, and one Syrian Civil Defense (White Helmet) emergency responder. The victims smelled like chlorine and were having difficulty breathing, indicative of chlorine gas. This was the third chemical attack in Ghouta in 2018.
Dr. Ghanem Tayara, Chairman of UOSSM International and Bristol GP said, “With the sophistication of weapons used, there is no doubt that hospitals are being intentionally targeted and destroyed. Can you imagine the kind of weapon it would take to cause this level of damage under 60 feet of solid rock? This facility alone has been attacked four times in 2018. Over the years, hundreds of hospitals and medical facilities have been bombed while the international community turns a blind eye. For this to stop, perpetrators of these crimes must be held accountable for war crimes, which are very clearly spelled out under international law. “