Washington DC, February 14, 2017 — Dara’a Al Balad hospital was put out of action following a rocket attack on Monday evening (February 13). While no one was killed, four health workers were injured in the attack, which also caused huge damage throughout the hospital. Patients and medical services were moved to a safer location.
The International Rescue Committee-supported hospital provides consultations to more than 5,000 patients each month, and was already treating more than 60 people injured in attacks carried out earlier in the day. On Sunday, an IRC health assistant was also slightly injured by shrapnel following another attack in the town. A second IRC-supported hospital in nearby Eastern Ghariyeh has also been forced to close due to the increased risk of attacks.
Attacks on locations in Dara’a Al Balad began on Friday and have continued until today. The past 48 hours have seen nearly 50 attacks on the town, which is situated close to the Jordanian border. Sunday also saw fighting between Syrian government and opposition forces on the outskirts of Dara’a town. Nearly 800 families are thought to have fled Dara’a Al Balad and nearby areas over the course of the weekend.
Once again we are seeing outrageous attacks on hospitals in Syria. Hospitals don’t only save individual lives, they are the lifeline of entire communities. We have seen many times before how attacks on medical facilities precede intense military action, making this an extremely dangerous moment for civilians in southern Syria. It’s distressing to see the strategies that resulted in so many civilian deaths in Aleppo begin to play out elsewhere in Syria. There can be no peace in Syria without accountability for these repeated attacks against civilians
-Amanda Catanzano, the IRC's senior director, International Programs Policy and Advocacy
The IRC is the largest health care provider in southern Syria and supports around 30 health facilities in Dara’a and Quneitra with medicine and medical equipment. Eight IRC-supported health facilities were attacked in Syria in 2016, including five in southern Syria. More than 750 medical workers have been killed in the Syrian conflict and since February 2014 there have been more than 400 attacks on medical facilities.
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 29 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.