Many have also been forced to go underground in an attempt to avoid air strikes
June 1, 2019
Source: By Josie Ensor, beirut| Telegraph
The Syrian government and Russia have in the last month bombed eight hospitals in the rebel stronghold of Idlib whose coordinates were shared with Moscow in the hope of preventing such attacks, doctors say.
The United Nations gave the GPS locations supplied by NGOs operating in Idlib to Russia as part of a “deconfliction mechanism”.
The regime and Russia, which intervened in the war in support of President Bashar al-Assad in 2015, have systematically targeted hospitals and clinics during assaults on opposition strongholds.
Since the government began its offensive on Idlib on April 30, more than 24 facilities have been hit, in what doctors are calling a “record”.
Among the eight that feature on the UN humanitarian office OCHA’s “deconfliction” list was a maternity hospital in the town of al-Atareb which had to evacuate premature babies.
zMany have also been forced to go underground in an attempt to avoid air strikes.“The situation is frankly catastrophic,” added Dr Sahloul. “It’s much worse than I expected and I think it may get even worse.”Hedinn Halldorsson, spokesperson for OCHA, said it was “too early” to determine whether health facilities that had been deconflicted had been attacked in the latest upsurge of violence.
However, he told the Telegraph that according to preliminary reports, “some of the locations may have been deconflicted with relevant parties.“The UN is gravely concerned by the number of health and education facilities struck in northwest Syria in recent weeks.”Russia was alleged to have bombed a number of hospitals on the so-called deconfliction list during the offensive on besieged rebel-held Eastern Ghouta early last year.The UN said it would investigate, however, the results of which are not yet known.Karen Pierce, the UK’s representative to the UN, raised the deliberate targeting of hospitals at the Security Council earlier this week.“It is inexcusable that hospitals, schools and other infrastructure have been attacked despite OCHA’s deconfliction mechanism,” she told the Council, where Russian and Syrian members were present.The UN said it would investigate the accusations that hospitals on the list provided to Russia had been bombed and “report back to the Council.”