A health center supported by Médecins Sans Frontières in northwest Syria was hit by an airstrike that killed 6 people. The bombs destroyed the stock of vaccines and the refrigerators needed to keep them cool. With this there are four hospitals bombarded and put out of use in a week.

in photo: A girl holds an oxygen mask to a baby girl after a chlorine gas attack (Gettyimages)
“It is sad and undeniable to see how civilian areas, particularly health facilities, are still under attack in the northwest of Syria and how these attacks, which are always constant in these seven years of conflict, are growing in intensity until they reach a disturbing level of “alarm”, declares Omar Ahmed Abenza, head of the programs for Syria of Doctors without Borders (MSF) . “It’s an outrageous act that can not be tolerated – he continues – an already serious situation is getting worse. The obligation to avoid civilian areas and infrastructures, such as medical ones, is the first step to avoiding a catastrophe “.

In recent days, a health center supported by the humanitarian organization in Mishmishan, in the north-western province of Idlib, was hit by an air raid. The bombing took place while the center’s medical team was working in some neighboring villages to follow the vaccination program. It is only by coincidence that the life of its members, in addition to those of parents and children who would have been in line for vaccinations, are safe. However, the attack led to the death of 6 people who were in the center, all patients or their carers, and wounding 17 others, including 3 doctors. In the health center of Mishmishan – underlines in a note Msf- vaccinations were carried out, which in the second half of 2017 involved more than 10,000 children. “This service is now shattered. The area of ​​the health center where vaccinations took place was severely damaged. The stock of vaccines and the refrigerators needed to keep them cool have been affected, “adds Omar Ahmed Abenza.’

Mishmishan is just the latest in a series of attacks on medical and hospital facilities in Syria. On 5 February, the raids launched by the Russian aircraft and the Syrian aviation have also put out of use the hospitals of the cities of Maarat al-Numan and Kafranbel , south of the capital Idlib, and the only medical center of Beit Sawa, in the suburbs east of Damascus. The Al-Salam National Hospital in Maarat al-Numan, an important pediatric center where 674 children were born last month, was declared out of action. In the bombing, five people were killed and killed, including a baby girl and her father. “The Al-Salam hospital is the only maternity hospital in the city of Maarat al-Numan and its surrounding areas,” said Dr. Mohamad Al-Hosni. “Provides assistance to sick and premature children and has a large incubator department. Striking a hospital that cares only for pregnant women and their children – added the doctor – is a war crime that the perpetrators must be held responsible for. ”

Since mid-December, the Syrian army’s offensive on the province of Idlib to regain the last bastion still held by anti-Assad militias  is causing one of the largest displacements of people since the beginning of the war. “The violence is increasing and are putting a strain on the population with already behind seven years of war. Every time a medical facility is bombed, there is a terrible knock-on effect on the neighboring health structures “, reports Doctors without Borders .

“For fear of new bombings – reports the international organization – the management decided to limit the services to minimize the risk to doctors and discharged the less critical patients. A dramatic vicious circle that arises after every new attack where the remaining hospitals are overcrowded and the medical staff is forced to shorten the time for each visit. Among the most widespread medical needs among the Syrians are respiratory tract infections and chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. “Without access to treatment – warn humanitarian workers – these conditions can only worsen to the point of making even chronic or treatable diseases potentially life-threatening”.

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