Syrian Aid Workers Pleading for Protection From Deadly Attacks
Syrian aid workers have appealed to the international community for protection from deadly attacks as hospitals have been moved underground due to the continuous raids by militants.
Zedoun Al Zoubi, head of the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM), which operates in Syria, said in a statement during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul earlier this week that they are moving hospitals underground and into caves. This comes after attempts to end the attacks on healthcare did not prove fruitful.
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Al Zoubi added that being a doctor in the war-torn Syria means waiting for death, instead of saving lives. He explained that medical professionals are concerned all the time about their own welfare. This is due to the fact that doctors are the main target of air strikes. Due to the threat, around 10,000 doctors have fled the country and only around 1,000 are left.
"Everybody knows that hospitals are the safest place in the world in a time of war, but in Syria they are the riskiest place," the head of UOSSM said. When one hospital expressed a desire to build an underground facility near the Free Syrian Army barracks, they were reportedly asked to leave as the presence of a hospital would mean the area will be bombed and attacked soon.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), a medical aid charity, earlier claimed that the United Nations Security Council has ties to the attacks made on hospitals located in Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen. MSF also pulled out of the World Humanitarian Summit noting that the United Nations-sponsored meeting will not hold the states responsible for the bombings and the rise in conflicts.
Despite MSF's comments, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement that, "Protecting humanitarian workers is a core tenet of international humanitarian law. My senior officials and I raise it at every opportunity with member states and the international community."
Rouba Mhaissen, the founder and director of Sawa for Development and Aid, said that the international community should provide a safe atmosphere for humanitarian workers. He suggested no-fly zones, the use of air drops to deliver aid to affected areas, and ensuring that none of the air strikes targets hospitals and schools.