Attacks on Syria’s health care personnel and facilities

Health Cluster

WHO works with local partners to respond to health needs of the population of northern Syria whose medical centres have been damaged by the conflict.

Health care facilities in Syria have been targeted by bombs and other means of violence for years.  Since the beginning of the conflict there have been more than 350 verified attacks on health facilities, in which over 70 health staff were killed. In 2017 alone, 28 health care workers were killed and 46 injured in 112 verified attacks on health care facilities. 73 health facilities and 69 ambulances were also impacted in these incidents. Hospitals were the most affected in 2017, followed by primary health care centers and ambulatory systems.

WHO demands that all parties in the conflict respect the safety and neutrality of health workers and health facilities. Some patterns of attacks indicate that health care is being deliberately targeted in the Syrian conflict –a major violation of international law that shows a tragic disregard for our common humanity.

The Turkey Health Cluster - a group of medical organizations coordinated by WHO, based in Gaziantep, Turkey - monitors attacks on health care facilities in non-government controlled areas in Syria, collecting and verifying information. This complements the provision of health services, staff and supplies to meet the health needs of populations in northwestern Syria.