QRCS slams airstrike on healthcare facility in Idlib
12 Jan 2018 - 0:52
Doha: On Friday 5 January 2018, a healthcare managed by Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) in Idlib was subject to an airstrike that caused a severe damage to the building. The facility has become inoperative, which will negatively affect hundreds of patients who visit it for treatment.
QRCS personnel are currently moving the undamaged medical equipment to a safer place. They are also examining the resulting loss, making sure that there were no casualties among the patients.
It is a plain fact that health facilities are protected under the International Humanitarian Law and all relevant legislation.
In response, QRCS strongly condemns all and every hostile act against civilians as well as relief and medical workers. These acts are stark violations of all international laws and conventions that provide for the protection of hospitals, hospital staff, and humanitarians at conflict zones.
As a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which is concerned with saving the lives of the vulnerable and alleviating their suffering, QRCS calls upon all parties to the conflict to comply with the provisions of Articles 19 through 35 of the Chapters 3-6 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols. All of these instruments stipulate that the “wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for”. Also, the International Humanitarian Law grants special protection to hospitals, medical facilities, and healthcare providers.
It is noted by QRCS that failure to respect these provisions is detrimental to the protective nature of health facilities and is in breach of the legal and ethical commitment of non-obstruction of humanitarian and medical professionals.
Opened in July 2017, The targeted healthcare facility serves more than 90,000 people in the district and neighboring areas. As the only health center in this part of the governorate of Idlib, it offers significant health care services for a large number of visitors (around 5,000 patients per month).
It comprises several clinics and departments (gynecology, pediatrics & IMCI, dentistry, dermatology, ophthalmology, and internal/general medicine). It has a total manpower of 34 medical and nonmedical personnel. In 2017, the center received more than 68,200 patients.
On Monday 8 January 2018, two doctors who volunteer with QRCS were injured in an explosion in Batabo, Aleppo. An improvised explosive device (IED) hit their car directly while heading for their work at a health care center. The two victims underwent a surgery to remove the shrapnel, and their health conditions are now stable.