Omar Bin Abdul Aziz Hospital Destroyed; No Hospitals Left in Besieged Eastern Aleppo

Cincinnati, OH – The Omar Bin Abdul Aziz Hospital In Aleppo was hit by a wave of artillery strikes hours ago and destroyed at 8:30 P.M. Damascus time. Casualties and injury numbers are unconfirmed but there are reports of staff and patients trapped under the rubble.  What little remaining operating rescue teams, are unable to reach the hospital due to the fierce bombardment and constant shelling of the area, paralyzing search and rescue efforts.
Four hospitals were closed today in Aleppo after heavy airstrikes and bombings damaged the facilities leaving completely besieged Eastern Aleppo without any major operating hospitals, according to the Aleppo Health Directorate.  With Aleppo totally besieged and no access to medical care, civilians and aid workers are terrified of an impending genocide.

A pediatric hospital was hit for a second time in three days. A video emerged from an Al Jazeera reporter, Omar Al Halabi, as he was inside the hospital filming patients being treated for a suspected chlorine attack from nearby Hanano neighborhood. The hospital was attacked as the report was being filmed, the chaotic scene was caught on video. Two nurses were removing premature babies from neonatal units and burst into tears from distress.The tiny, newborn babies were then laid down on the bare floor exposed to all of the raw elements.    According to the Turkey Health Cluster, the hospital provided 3812 consultations and 300 admissions per month.

Another hospital was attacked for the third time in three days putting it out of service. According to the Turkey Health Cluster, the hospital provided 3209 consultations, 369 admissions and 137 major surgeries a month.

There are reports, unverified by UOSSM, that 12 civilians with symptoms consistent with chlorine inhalation have been injured in the Hanano neighborhood as six barrel bombs were dropped containing choking agents, suspected to be chlorine gas.

Yesterday another hospital was attacked. The facility was moderately damaged and shut down. According to the Turkey Health Cluster the hospital provided 3000 consultations, 194 admissions, and 454 major surgeries per month.

This comes in light of the quickly deteriorating situation in Eastern Aleppo as medical care and supplies are running extremely low. Local authorities are pleading with the UN and welcome any immediate airdrop or convoy of aid including medications, food and aid.

In the past ten days alone at least 12 hospitals and medical facilities have been attacked, two medical staff have been killed and 16 medical personnel, including doctors and nurses, have been injured. UOSSM condemns in the strongest possible terms the systematic and deliberate eradication of health care facilities in Aleppo and Syria.

Dr. Khaula Sawah, CEO of UOSSM USA said, “The situation is dire in Aleppo right now, the area is completely besieged.  No one can go in to help civilians, no supplies or medical aid are able to reach these areas, patients cannot be transported out no matter how serious their condition. Continuous shelling has caused a major deficiency in rescue teams and emergency vehicles. People are trapped under the rubble, there are insufficient rescue teams to help save these lives. These people are under a fierce bombardment and constant shelling; the 100’s of wounded daily, have no where to turn, the whole world has turned a blind eye to the 250,000 people trapped, literally choking the life out of them until they die.
We call on the international community, to help rebuild these hospitals and to advocate to bring these criminals, that are not respecting or abiding by any Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law or UNSC resolutions, to justice, and to demand an immediate stop to these crimes against humanity.”
UOSSM estimates that since March 2011 through September 30, 2016, at least 710 medical staff, including doctors, have been killed. And there have been at least 545 attacks on about 250 medical facilities, which have been documented, throughout Syria. All of these attacks have either destroyed, damaged, or halted the medical services provided to the Syrian people. In 2016 alone, as of the end of September, over 185 attacks have been documented against healthcare facilities and at least 115 health workers were killed.
*Hospital names are concealed for the protection of the staff and facilities.
**Given the extreme challenges of collecting data in the field, the data does not include attacks which UOSSM was unable to verify.