Washington DC- Less than 24 hours after the UN Security Council Resolution 2401 passed for a 30 day emergency cessation of hostilities in Syria, two medical facilities were attacked, at least 20 civilians were killed, and over 70 others were wounded.
The two medical facilities in Eastern Ghouta were hit by airstrikes, heavily damaged and put out of service on this morning. There were no casualties. At least 20 civilians were killed in other areas of Ghouta as an aerial bombardment continued to pound civilian areas. At least 541 civilians were killed and thousands were wounded in one week from February 18-25.
There were 31 attacks on 26 medical facilities (5 were attacked twice) killing six medical staff and injuring 15 since February 18. Eight of those facilities were completely destroyed and several others were heavily damaged and put out of service. The vulnerable civilians of eastern Ghouta have virtually no access to emergency healthcare when they need it most.
Dr. Ghanem Tayara, Chairman of UOSSM International and Birmingham, UK GP said, “I am embarrassed for the UN Security Council. The mightiest nations on the planet cannot enforce the most basic standards of human rights and decency. The inability of these resolutions to be taken seriously calls into question why these systems even exist. Quite frankly, the system is disconnected from reality and enjoys all the comforts of that. While they are vigorously debating, children are being blown to bits. Over 500 civilians were slaughtered in a week and 26 medical facilities were attacked. They recreated hell on earth and still nothing real has been done. The people need action now, not hollow words. The doctors in Ghouta are beyond despair.”
Dr. Tayara added: “It’s like a nightmare we never wake up from.”
The Rural Damascus Healthcare Directorate issued the following statement: “On 2/25 medical facilities admitted several cases from Shayfooniya in eastern Ghouta with symptoms including dyspnea, intensive irritation of the mucus membranes, irritation of the eyes, and dizziness. These are consistent with exposure to toxic chlorine gas. There was a clear smell of chlorine on the people in that area, ambulance drivers, and all of the victims.
At least 18 victims were treated with water spray and oxygen. One baby girl was killed, another 4-month-old infant is still on a ventilator. Some victims are still receiving treatment and are under observation.
The Rural Damascus Healthcare Directorate are following up and will issue a statement with further details as soon as they become available.”
1. The enforcement of UNSC 2401, A cessation of violence throughout Syria;
2. Sustained humanitarian access through weekly humanitarian aid convoys to all areas in need
3. Emergency medical evacuations with necessary safety guarantees to patients in need of urgent treatment outside of besieged areas;
4. Commitments from all parties to the conflict to comply with their obligations under international law to prioritize the protection of civilians and guarantee the protection of hospitals and other medical facilities;
5. Lifting of the sieges, most urgently on eastern Ghouta, the largest Syrian city under siege.
** UNSC 2401- https://www.un.org/press/en/2018/sc13221.doc.htm