A February 2015 joint report by the Center for Public Health and Human Rights of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Syrian American Medical Society asserted that “Syria is the most dangerous place in the world to be a doctor”. Roughly half (an estimated 15,000) of Syrian doctors fled the country. The government passed a law in 2012 making it illegal to render medical aid to anyone suspected to be an opposition member and Amnesty International found that doctors and medical staff also took part in torture of patients.
Physicians for Human Rights has been tracking the medical personnel deaths in Syria, though they state that “these numbers are conservative given the difficulties in reporting during a war.” As of the end of September 2015, the number of medical workers killed in the Syrian civil war totaled 679. 648 of these deaths are attributable to the Syrian government, 17 by non-state armed groups, one by Kurdish forces, and 13 by unidentified forces. In February 2016, the number of killed medical personnel was updated to 697, and subsequently in June to more than 700.
Médecins Sans Frontières has reported that suppliers in Syria refuse to sell essential medical supplies such as gauze and surgical threads to doctors due to government intimidation, with this being a particular problem for besieged areas.
Published on Feb 4, 2017
The war on Syria’s doctors: The ultimate barbarity
Dr Assad turns Syria’s hospitals into death traps as part of a “kneel or starve” policy.
Assad’s government has killed almost seven hundred medical personnel.