52 Medical Personnel Killed in 2018
SNHR has released its monthly special report that documents violations against medical personnel, civil defense personnel, and their respective facilities by the parties to the conflict in Syria.
The report stresses that saving the wounded is branded now as a dangerous profession that might lead to death, in light of the blatant international humanitarian law violations that affect medical facilities and their workers.
According to the report, the Syrian regime has perpetrated the majority of crimes against medical personnel and their medical facilities, as its forces have raided hospitals and abducted some of the wounded, and targeted hospitals and medical points using shells, missiles, and barrel bombs, while their forces have bombed civil defense facilities and international humanitarian insignia repeatedly, killing many of their personnel.
The report notes that the rest of the parties to the conflict have perpetrated similar violations but to less extents and at smaller rates. ISIS members raided makeshift hospitals and dispensaries and abducted some of the wounded, doctors, and paramedics. Also, ISIS barred some doctors from practicing as per their discriminative laws while the Coalition forces (international coalition and SDF) have targeted a number of hospitals and medical points.
The report adds that violations against medical and civil defense personnel does not only impact them, but also extends to the lives of the people who are in need of medical care services, treatment, and rescue. Consequently, these violations result in the death of many of the wounded and those who were trapped in rubble.
Fadel Abdul Ghany, chairman of SNHR, says:
“Attacks on medical and civil defense centers as well as medical and civil defense personnel are considered a blatant violation of the international humanitarian law and constitute war crimes given the indiscriminate, and in many cases, deliberate, targeting of protected objects. All of this have only deepened the suffering of the wounded and injured and is one of the main reasons behind the displacement of the Syrian people as it sends a very clear message: there is no safe area, or a red line, including hospitals, you either flee or perish.”
The report draws upon daily documentation and monitoring, as well as accounts from survivors, eyewitnesses, and local media activists, in addition to analyzing a large number of pictures and videos that were posted online or sent by local activists according to the report.
According to the report, the scale of military operations has diminished notably in the month of August across Syria, which reflected on the numbers of victims in general. On the other hand, August was the third month in a row in which new names of forcibly-disappeared persons at the hands of Syrian regime forces came into light as those names were registered as dead in civil records. According to the report, two of those cases were for medical personnel.
In addition, August saw a significant rise in the number of abductions and arrests that targeted medical personnel in north Syria, which were by Hay’at Tahrir al Sham and other parties we couldn’t identify, as we documented four cases. A number of medical facilities have announced that they will be operations partially until they can ensure the safety of their staff as a result of those developments.
The report records that 89 medical, civil defense, and Red Crescent personnel have been killed since the start of 2018 at the hands of the parties to the conflict in Syria, including 54 who were killed by Syrian regime forces. The same forces were responsible for the killing of one doctor and one nurse in August, the report notes.
Moreover, the report documents seven attacks on vital medical facilities. Of those, two were by Syrian regime forces as they targeted two medical facilities. Additionally, the report records one attack on a medical facility by international coalition forces, and four attacks by other parties that targeted three medical facilities and one ambulance.
The report stresses that the attacks constitute a violations of Security Council resolutions 2139 and 2254 which state that indiscriminate attacks must be ceased. Also, the crime of willful killing constitutes a violation of Article 7 and 8 of Rome Statute, which qualify as war crimes
The report adds that the attacks mentioned in this report constitute violations of Security Council resolution 2286 which states that attacks and threats against the wounded and sick, medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment should be ceased, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities.
The report calls on the Security Council to take additional steps after resolutions 2139 and 2254 have been adopted. Also, the report stresses that the Syrian case should be referred to the International Criminal Court and all those who were involved should be held accountable, including the Russian regime whose involvement in war crimes has been proven.
In addition, the report calls for the implementation of the “Responsibility to Protect (R2P)” norm, especially after all political channels have been consumed through all agreements, as well as Cessation of Hostilities statements and Astana agreements. The report stresses that action should be taken under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, and the “Responsibility to Protect” norm, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly, should be implemented.
The report calls on the European Union and the United States of America to support the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism that was established in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 71/248, adopted on December 21, 2016. And establish local tribunals that enjoy a universal jurisdiction, and address the war crimes that were perpetrated in Syria.
Also, the report calls on the Commission of Inquiry (COI) and the International, Impartial, and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) to launch investigations on the incidents included in this report and past reports. The report stresses that SNHR is willing to cooperate and provide more evidences and data.
Further, report calls on the Syrian regime to stop treating the Syrian state as a private family property, cease the terrorization of the Syrian people through killing the teams that provide medical, aid, and rescue services, as well as to cease bombing hospitals, protected objects, and civilian areas, respect the customary humanitarian law, and, lastly, shoulder all the legal and material repercussions, and compensate victims and their families from the Syrian state’s resources.
Additionally, the report calls on the Russian regime and international coalition forces to launch investigations in the incidents included in the report, made the findings of these investigations public to the Syrian people, and hold all who were involved accountable.
Further, the report calls on the SDF-supporting states to apply pressure on these forces in order to compel them to cease all of their violations in all the areas and towns that are under their control. And cease all forms of support, including weapons.
Lastly, the report calls on the armed opposition factions to ensure the protection of civilians in all areas and launch investigations into the attacks that resulted in civilian deaths. The report also stresses that armed opposition factions should distinguish between military and civilian targets and abstain from any indiscriminate attacks.