Dallas, Texas- At approximately 11:55 am Damascus time on February 17, two hospitals were hit by airstrikes in Darat Izza, Aleppo in Syria. The Al Kinana Hospital in Darat Izza was hit by airstrikes and sustained significant damage. The Al Fardous Maternity & Children’s Hospital in Darat Izza was also hit by an airstrike and sustained significant damage. Two staff were injured and no fatalities were reported. Al Fardous Hospital supported a population of more than 300,000 people. The two hospitals were the last operational hospitals in Western Aleppo. Since April 2019, there have been at least 78 attacks on medical facilities in Syria.
In the last five days, over 250,000 people have been newly displaced by violence and over 900,000 people have been displaced since December, of which, 75% are women and children. The World Food Program, which thousands of people depend on, was not able to complete food deliveries this week because of the escalated violence.
Dr. Khaula Sawah, Vice President of UOSSM USA said, "The humanitarian catastrophe in Idlib is beyond devastating. There are no words to describe the extent of human suffering. Where is the international community? All we hear are statements and concerns about the situation, but no action has been taken. Meanwhile, innocent children are freezing to death in the bitter cold, and more and more people are becoming displaced with nowhere to go, as the world continues to look the other way. Little Eman Layla was just 1 1/2 years old. She was sick and her father was taking her to the hospital, which was two kilometers away. He carried her on foot in the bitter cold, trying his best to keep her warm. Unfortunately, she did not survive; she froze to death. Another senseless death as this apathetic world turns a blind eye, as if these lives are less valuable than others. We have heard several other stories of children freezing to death. Something must be done immediately. There are millions of lives at stake."
UOSSM condemns the continued attacks on medical facilities and demands perpetrators are held accountable for war crimes. UOSSM calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities by all military parties, and that the international community intervene now to protect millions of civilians in North Western Syria. UOSSM asks the international community to immediately release emergency funding to support healthcare, food, water and shelter given the exponential increase in internally displaced people.
*Numbers are constantly changing due to situation on the ground.