Russia on June 3 blocked a UN Security Council statement of alarm about the killing of civilians in northwest Syria and the possibility of a humanitarian disaster. The bombing and shelling have accompanied a Russia-backed offensive by the Assad regime to recapture parts of Idlib and neighboring Hama province. This last major opposition-held area is home to over 4 million people—about 20% of Syria’s surviving population. Over the past month, some 300 civilians have been killed in the bombardment, with hundreds more wounded. The number displaced in Idlib and Hama now totals more than 300,000. Almost 30 medical facilities have been destroyed or damaged in the bombing. Throughout the eight-year Syrian conflict, Russia has vetoed 12 Security Council resolutions to criticize or censure its ally, the Assad regime.
Medical staff in Idlib and Hama are halting the sharing of coordinates of facilities as Russia and the regime continue to carry out attacks on hospitals and clinics. Coordinates were given to the UN, to pass to the Russian military, of nine facilities that were subsequently attacked over the past weeks. “Most of the partners will never again share their coordinates with the UN because it is not working,” said Dr Mohamed Zahid of Physicians Across Continents.
An open letter by dozens of doctors said the attacks “have forced the hospitals to operate under a state of emergency, only treating the most urgent cases and unable to take in patients for routine care.” Physicians for Human Rights has documented more than 500 attacks on more than 350 facilities during Syria’s conflict. (EA Worldview)
Photo: EA Worldview