A new report published in The Lancet presents a grim picture of humanitarian abuses in Syria. It claims that more than 800 healthcare workers have been killed in the country since the outbreak of a civil war in 2011.
The study estimated 814 medical personnel were killed between March 2011 and February 2017 -- a figure that may not capture many unreported deaths.
The report was prepared by a team of researchers from the American University of Beirut, in collaboration with The Lancet, and draws together data from dozens of organisations that have been monitoring the conflict.
The report’s authors write of what they call the “weaponisation of healthcare” in Syria, and suggest a series of “policy imperatives for international bodies”, such as “strengthening accountability towards protection of health workers”.
Karl Blanchet, director of the Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said the findings raise a serious issue which affects other countries in addition to Syria.
"Syria is just the tip of the iceberg. In Afghanistan and Yemen today, international humanitarian organizations ...report attacks on health facilities every week. Patients have been shot while traveling in ambulances in Colombia, ambulances are used in suicide attacks in Afghanistan, doctors are murdered in Somalia, and hospitals bombed in Afghanistan, Yemen and Libya,” he told Reuters.
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